Huddersfield Town v Sheffield Wednesday - Nabi Sarr needs to lead young Terriers

Huddersfield Town's Naby Sarr: Taking responsibility.Huddersfield Town's Naby Sarr: Taking responsibility.
Huddersfield Town's Naby Sarr: Taking responsibility.
ASKED about potentially being the elder statesman in Huddersfield Town’s defence in tonight’s derby, Naby Sarr quickly raises a smile.

The giant Frenchman is blessed with a sunny disposition. This evening, the need to bellow out orders to a youthful face alongside him in the heat of battle might forego any such niceties.

With the senior duo of Richard Stearman and Christopher Schindler highly likely to be absent against the Owls, centre-back Sarr – who only joined the club just under a couple of months ago – could well be assigned with partnering a comparative rookie in Rarmani Edmonds-Green or Romoney Crichlow-Noble, who are both just 21.

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Edmonds-Green is favourite to replace Schindler, having replaced the Town captain when he exited the fray with a knee injury amid worrying scenes late on in Saturday’s fine victory over QPR.

Rarmani Edmonds-Green of Huddersfield Town in action during the pre season friendly game against Bury at Gigg Lane on July 16, 2017 in Bury, England. (Picture: Clint Hughes/Getty Images)Rarmani Edmonds-Green of Huddersfield Town in action during the pre season friendly game against Bury at Gigg Lane on July 16, 2017 in Bury, England. (Picture: Clint Hughes/Getty Images)
Rarmani Edmonds-Green of Huddersfield Town in action during the pre season friendly game against Bury at Gigg Lane on July 16, 2017 in Bury, England. (Picture: Clint Hughes/Getty Images)

Just last year, the young defender’s football education took him to Town’s non-league neighbours Brighouse Town before a spell in his native London at Bromley – with his progress having been rapid since.

If Edmonds-Green starts, it would entrust plenty of responsibility on the big shoulders of Sarr, if that was the case.

On being the ‘old head’ this evening, the former Charlton Athletic defender, 27, said: “That is true. I am a bit older than the young lads. I have got a little experience, so I am going to share it with them and help them as much as I can, even though I am not that old!.

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“We have to help each other; they can help me as well to produce the best game we can.

Carlos Corberán, manager of Huddersfield Town (Picture: James Hardisty)Carlos Corberán, manager of Huddersfield Town (Picture: James Hardisty)
Carlos Corberán, manager of Huddersfield Town (Picture: James Hardisty)

“Since I have been here, Rarmani and Romoney have been good lads and they are really good players too. I am a little bit older than them and it is weird to see that..

“Of course, I can talk with them and speak about my experiences at different clubs. But if they keep playing as they do and working hard every day, they will be alright when they get the chance.

“It is all about experience, because other than that, they have all the qualities you need to play in the Championship. They are really good players who are clever too. If they are by my side, I will help them as much as I can.”

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Seniority in terms of age has proved invaluable for Sarr in terms of his own game as well.

His high-profile gaffe to hand a goal on a plate to Cardiff City in Town’s 3-0 reverse in South Wales last Tuesday was the sort of moment that all professionals dread.

Sarr readily admits that if that had happened earlier in his career, then it would have afforded him some tortuous hours and sleepless nights. But not now.

His comments should not be read as glossing over his moment – more the fact that the first thing that you need to do when make an obvious error is move on immediately. It is all about the next game.

Sarr’s response four days on against QPR was immaculate.

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Exemplary in his defensive decision-making, Sarr was also confident in stepping out with the ball and continuing to play out from the back as is the way for Town under Carlos Corberan.

On mentally coping with mistakes – an occupational hazard for all footballers – he commented: “Now I am a bit older, it is quicker than when I was younger.

“When I used to make a mistake, I used to think about it on the pitch and replayed it on my mind one hundred times.

“Now, with my experience, I have changed and if I make a mistake, I look to the future and see how I can take the lesson from the mistake and not do it again. Saturday helped me a lot.

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“I made the mistake (against Cardiff) and it is a lesson learned and I will add it to my game.

“I enjoy playing out from the back. They had this philosophy at Charlton under Lee Bowyer to play out from the back and it suits me.

“I like to take the ball from the keeper and find solutions.

It is not always on and sometimes, you have to play long. But most of the time, if we can do it, it makes us better and play really good football.”

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Like last week’s opponents Cardiff, Wednesday are likely to post a physical test tonight for Town, who have struggled against functional teams who mix their play up in the Championship.

In that regard, it will be interesting to see how swiftly Huddersfield’s players have learned from events in the Principality last week against an Owls team coached by a manager in Tony Pulis who prides himself on his side being strong from set-plays.

Sarr added: “Sometimes, maybe our game is a little too pretty and not aggressive enough.

“But I think, game by game, we are changing this. Sometimes, it has been a bit more difficult with physical teams. But I think we built on the defeat to Cardiff and learned lessons and I think we will be alright now.”

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Last six games: Huddersfield DLDWLW; Sheffield Wednesday DLDDDL.

Referee: K Stroud (Hants).

Last time: Huddersfield Town 0 Sheffield Wednesday 2, September 15, 2019; Championship.

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