The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Char­lie Tal­bot-Smith

JEREMY HELAN’S de­ci­sion to quit foot­ball for reli­gious rea­sons took many peo­ple by sur­prise, but not his man­ager at Sh­effield Wednes­day Car­los Car­va­hal.

The 24-year-old winger – a Manchester City youth prod­uct – is a de­vout Muslim and an­nounced his de­ci­sion this week.

But Car­va­hal, who guided the Owls to the Cham­pi­onship play-off fi­nal last sea­son, had known some­thing like this might hap­pen for a while af­ter speak­ing to Helan, who made one ap­pear­ance for Wednes­day this sea­son.

“It’s not new for me. It’s some­thing I’ve talked to him about since the start of the sea­son,” he said.

“When he talked with me, I un­der­stood and I just said to him to take some time to be sure about the de­ci­sion.

“In that pe­riod, he was very pro­fes­sional. He’s a nice guy, but I must tell you his head isn’t in foot­ball.

“Just the body was here and he tried to do his best, be­cause he’s a good guy and a fan­tas­tic pro­fes­sional.

“We must ac­cept his de­ci­sion.

“I had other long con­ver­sa­tions with him and said he has the tal­ent to play foot­ball. I did my best to keep him in foot­ball.

“But Jeremy’s fo­cus was dif­fer­ent – he’s more fo­cused on dif­fer­ent things. I un­der­stand his head is not here.”

In bet­ter news for the Owls, new sign­ing Adam Reach is con­fi­dent he is go­ing to hit top form soon.

The for­mer Boro man has made three ap­pear­ances since his dead­line day move and showed im­pres­sive ver­sa­til­ity.

“I’m 23 now and maybe not classed as a young prospect any more,” he said.

“You need to start play­ing games and put in per­for­mances ev­ery week.

“Any­where the man­ager needs me to play, I will do that. I am al­ways try­ing to im­prove, so if I can add an­other po­si­tion to my CV then that’s per­fect.”

SWITCH: Jeremy Helan

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