OWL MARNICK ON A MISSION
NEW Sheffield Wednesday owner Dejphon Chansiri is not the only Owl targeting a Premier League return – former Manchester United starlet Marnick Vermijl admits he has unfinished business in the topflight.
The short hop across the Peak District from Old Trafford to Hillsborough is not a path often trodden by footballers chasing success.
But the 23-year-old full-back moved to the Championship club on transfer deadline day, February 2,for an undisclosed fee having made just one senior appearance for the Red Devils this season – in the 4-0 League Cup humbling at MK Dons.
His impressive displays since for Wednesday have come at a good time, with the club enjoying a mini-renaissance that has seen them move well clear of any relegation worries.
Thai businessman Chansiri, who bought the Owls from Milan Mandaric in early March for £37.5m, revealed he wants to give his club a 150th birthday present to remember by helping them get back to the Premier League by 2017.
And Belgian U21 international Vermijl says he wouldn’t have made the move if he didn’t think Wednesday were within reach of ending a 15-year exile from the top-flight.
“In this league you always need to believe you can get promotion, because every player wants to be playing at that level,” he said .“I took a step back to come here to try and further my career and to get more playing opportunities.
“We’ve a new owner as well who is targeting a return to the Premier League, so we have got something really good growing.
“At United there is so much pressure on players, because you basically need to win every single game.
“You are playing with the best players in the world, so it is never going to be easy to break in.
“But at times I did feel I could have had a chance to get out there, and that just didn’t come – so that’s why I am loving having those opportunities in Sheffield. The main thing for me is to be in the starting 11 as often as possible.”
Vermijl may have been ruing the arrival of the mid-season international break more than most last week, having made four consecutive appearances in a run of games that yielded just one defeat for the mid-table Owls.
And the Belgian, who went to school with Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois, admits he is relishing the chance to play a key role in his side’s end-of-season efforts.
“It’s been nice to be in the team over the last few weeks and starting, so hopefully I can continue that record and continue to put in strong performances,” he added.
“We have already managed to reach the total of points that we achieved last season – 53 – so that is very pleasing and it gives us quite a few matches to improve on it.
“With a few new players in since January, we just need to keep winning and build some momentum ahead of the next campaign. Personally, I have settled in really nicely and I’m really enjoying being here.”
NEW AMBITION: Marnick Vermijl, seen here playing for Manchester United, is aiming for promotion at Sheffield Wednesday. Inset: Dejphon Chansiri