OWLS ABOUT THAT

Wed­nes­day’s quiet man Kieran Lee is start­ing to make him­self heard

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Jamie Holt

PLAY­ING foot­ball and har­bour­ing a love for the lime­light usu­ally go hand-in-hand but try telling that to Kieran Lee – Sh­effield Wed­nes­day’s si­lent as­sas­sin who once con­sid­ered be­com­ing a fire­man to avoid the at­ten­tion.

The 26-year-old has cer­tainly been mak­ing head­lines of late with goals in suc­ces­sive games against Brent­ford and Bournemouth. How­ever, most jour­nal­ists look­ing to get a word with the shy Man­cu­nian have been given short shrift.

Lee ad­mits he in­ten­tion­ally ducks the post-match re­spon­si­bil­i­ties to head back home to Staly­bridge, the town in Greater Manch­ester where he was born and still lives, as soon as pos­si­ble.

Yet his per­for­mances for the Owls over the past few months are cer­tainly worth shout­ing about, even if the mod­est cen­tral mid­fielder re­fuses to talk him­self up.

Alight

In­deed Lee, a Manch­ester United academy grad­u­ate, re­vealed he gave some thought to swap­ping his boots for a fire­man’s hose be­fore his ca­reer re­ally set alight.

“I’ve al­ways wanted to play foot­ball, the fire fight­ing idea was mainly a back-up in case foot­ball didn’t work out,” said Lee, who cut his teeth at Med­lock Rangers and Glossop North End be­fore his big break.

“I try and avoid all the lime­light, all the at­ten­tion. I’ve done a cou­ple of in­ter­views here and there, but I try to stay out of all that usu­ally!

“I’m quiet, but I’ve stuck with foot­ball and I’ve en­joyed it all the way through from Man United to Sh­eff Wed­nes­day, so there’s no need to turn to fire fight­ing just yet!”

The rea­son for Lee’s hum­ble ap­proach owes much to his par­ents – Denise and Pete – who opened their door to foster a num­ber of chil­dren dur­ing his child­hood.

“They’ve al­ways been sup­port­ive of me, but the main thing they in­stilled in me was to al­ways en­joy the foot­ball, it was never about the money or any­thing like that,” added Lee, one of six broth­ers.

“As you get a lit­tle bit older it’s nice to pay them back for tak­ing me to train­ing vir­tu­ally ev­ery day and keep­ing me go­ing. When things got tough they sup­ported me, so it’s nice to have that.

“They used to look af­ter loads of kids, but they’ve got to the point where they want to re­lax and you can’t re­ally blame them!”

Lee got his first taste of the big­time when he scored the last-minute, ex­tra-time win­ner on his Manch­ester United de­but against Crewe in the League Cup back in 2006.

That year he was also named cap­tain of the re­serve side at Old Traf­ford – no mean feat for a self­con­fessed in­tro­vert.

“Grow­ing up as a United fan, to score on your de­but with the last kick of the game was a dream come true,” he con­tin­ued. “I didn’t think at that point that it was such a big thing, I was just en­joy­ing it re­ally and to be on the pitch was a priv­i­lege.”

Lynch­pin

In those days he op­er­ated at full-back, now he’s a lynch­pin of the Owls’ mid­field but his fu­ture is far from cer­tain with a new con­tract yet to be of­fered to the for­mer Old­ham and QPR man.

De­spite star­ring for the Owls this term, the £30m takeover by the Thai Union Frozen Group in Jan­uary has left a cloud of un­cer­tainty for many of the play­ers whose deals run out this sum­mer.

That doubt has been added to this week by the form­ing of “a three-man sport­ing direc­tor by com­mit­tee” at Hills­bor­ough, with Adam Pear­son and Glenn Roeder brought in to work along­side head coach Stu­art Gray.

“I’m not too sure what is hap­pen­ing next year yet,” he con­cedes. “There’s been the takeover and new staff ap­pointed the other day, so I’m guess­ing I’ll find out pretty soon what their plans are.

“I’m not wor­ry­ing about it. I’d like to stay at Wed­nes­day but it’s up to them. I’ll just have to wait and see.

“I’ve en­joyed it a lot more the last cou­ple of sea­sons and I’m get­ting a few goals now. It’s nice to score but the per­for­mances of the team have been pleas­ing as well.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

DREAM DE­BUT: Lee nets the Man Utd win­ner at Crewe Right: Stu­art Gray, Glenn Roeder and Adam Pear­son FULL FORCE: Owls goalscorer Kieran Lee bat­tles with Bournemouth’s Matt Ritchie in last Satur­day’s dra­matic 2-2 draw

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