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Jose Semedo OWLSONLINE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

He's magic. Yer knoooowwwww
Jose Semedo OWLSONLINE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

Jose Semedo exudes the main thing that most Wednesday supporters would expect as a minimum from any of the players that pull on the blue and white shirt, effort, application and an unerring will to win.
Since he joined the club in the summer of July 2011 Semedo has become a firm favourite, and arguably finding a spot in the hearts of the supporters for many years to come. Much like Lee Bullen before him, Semedo had no connection to the Wednesday before coming here but he just can’t see himself playing anywhere else or at least having the same affinity with any club again. But with his contract expiring in the summer of next year, he knows too well how things could take him away from what has now become his beloved Sheffield Wednesday Football Club.

For a player who began his career with Sporting Lisbon before moving to a couple of other clubs in his native country and then onto Italy, he didn’t truly settle with a club or a style of football until he hit these shores. But many of Semedo’s friends predicted England would be the place for him when he was a youngster while he and his best friend Cristiano Ronaldo watched the stars of Manchester United winning the Premier League title like David Beckham, Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole on TV at home.
“Before I came to England anyone who watched me play back home in Portugal said my game was better suited to the style in England.” He said. “There was always English football on TV and many times me and Cristiano would watch Man United games on TV, they wouldn’t finish while about 11pm but me and him would go straight outside and practise 1 v 1‘s. If we wanted to achieve the dream we knew we had to work harder and harder and get into the habit of training hard.”

But upon arrival on these shores things weren’t easy, although he had seen plenty of the football on TV the reality of it all was tough to take in. But since adjusting Semedo is keen to pass on the knowledge he has to the younger generation and he hopes he can help them settle a little quicker in English football.

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“When I got here the football was nothing like what I saw on TV, it was so different, in Portugal and Italy the game is more technical but here in England there is a real importance on getting the second ball and it’s something that as a youngster at Sporting we never really had to do. You need to be fit for 90 minutes of football here, you could be 2-1 up at 60 minutes in a game in Portugal and Italy and you know who the winner is because they just pass the ball backwards and hold the lead.
“With young players like Rafa Floro I told him straight away about this, he needs to work very hard to get the best out of his career here. I had no one to do that and it took me almost a year to really learn the basics and my language wasn’t so good. Thankfully there were a couple of people who could help me with things like shopping but on the pitch it was really hard.”

Semedo’s best friend took some time to adjust to the rigours of English football and now he is reaping the benefits of his hard work, and this is where it all starts for the players who don’t have as much natural talent and Semedo says it shows when high profile players make moves across the continent.

“The very best players come to England to play for Manchester United and Chelsea and seem to do ok, this is because they are already used to the expectation levels of the fans and the clubs before they get here. But for the players not going to clubs like Man United or Chelsea and playing in the lower leagues, it is much harder for them to adjust to English football. What is interesting is though is that the sides at a lower level in the Premiership go for more hard working players, maybe like Newcastle with the harder working players who are from France or Africa because in the French League there are more hard working players so they are used to the fitness levels needed already when they get here.

So what about Ronaldo? I had to ask him if he’d ever asked him to come join him at Wednesday…

“I have never asked him to come and play with me here at Wednesday although that would be fantastic, he has his career and I have mine. We are still really good friends and he asks me how I am doing and the same with me to him, he’s still the same guy he was all those years ago and he’s got to where he is because he’s so hard working. I did promise him that if anyone asks me who I would like to add to our team I always have to say him, but I would do that anyway, he is my friend and a fantastic footballer.”

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Before moving to Wednesday, Semedo featured many times in central defence for Charlton Athletic, but it’s not a position he prefers; much like his style on the field that we have come to know and love, he just wants to be in the thick of the action and as a consequence of that his game has thrived. However, he’s still eager to improve despite finding what he considers ‘his position’.
“Yes, I did play in defence for Charlton but I much prefer playing as a defensive midfielder, it suits my fitness level more and I can get more involved. I’m a better player than when I arrived, I’m more mature and the way the fans are they never let you stop. They urge you on so you always try to do your best for them.

“I think there’s always a part of your game that could be better and it’s my finishing, but it’s not really a part of my game. I could’ve had a shot against Huddersfield after running forward but I saw the centre half coming and passed the ball to someone in space. Maybe I should have had a shot but it’s not something I worry about. But scoring in the promotion season and winning 2-1 at Wycombe on a difficult pitch was fantastic. We went there as a big team and to score a goal that helped us win the game was great, maybe I should’ve scored more than one goal. It is good to score a goal for yourself personally but it’s more important that the team win the game and that is always my first priority.“

It could be said that the supporters were the reason behind Semedo’s move to Sheffield 6, the 2-2 draw with Charlton back in January 2011 lives long in his memory for the backing the fans gave Wednesday that day to roar back from two goals behind to salvage a draw, also having his family within a short drive certainly helped too.

“Before I moved to Sheffield yes I have family that live and work in Barnsley, they have been here longer than me. It’s nice to have my family 20 minutes or so away from me but I came here for the club. Before I moved from Charlton when my contract had just ended Doncaster & Millwall wanted me, but when Wednesday came up I didn’t want to know about the other clubs. I had the memories of the 2-2 game here with Charlton and although I was playing for Charlton I had happy memories of that game.”

The supporters made another lasting impression on him when they were all decked out for ‘Semedo Day’ against Nottingham Forest and that amongst other things will mean that Sheffield Wednesday are part of the fabric of Jose Semedo for years to come.

“When I came out of the dressing room that day at Nottingham Forest and onto the pitch I will never forget the sight of the Portugal flags and all the masks, but it’s something that gave me a feeling that I just can’t describe. If I ever feel down, I just think of that day and the fans who always are so good to me. “

Over the past 12 months or so, it would be fair to say that Semedo hasn’t had many chances to continue to show what his worth is to the team but rather than rest on his laurels and get down, he sees his role to help out the team every way he can as well as continuing to do his very best.

“In training I try to motivate players even if I haven’t been in the team. In training I sometimes give JJ a kick and we clash a little. He says I’ve kicked him and I just try to tell him I’m just trying to motivate him to be better, players in other teams will try to kick him. We are all in the team together and I think if you help people today then they will help you tomorrow, like at Bolton when I got sent off JJ was the first man there telling me ‘Semi, calm down’ so I know we all can help each other. Maybe it was a foul but I just couldn’t stop, it was so wet and yes I was upset but there was nothing I could do about it.

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“Every day, I have to know that I have done everything I can to make the manager think about putting me in the team and then my mind is happy.”

Semedo isn’t thinking of what may or may not be, his approach to the game is in the here and now. It doesn’t matter when his contract expires, only one thing matters.
If I need to have a conversation with the club about the future then they will call me, I don’t really think about it. All I want to do is enjoy every single day wearing a Sheffield Wednesday shirt. Although I have to say I do hope that God wants me to finish my career here and I would be very happy.”

I'd like to thank the club for allowing me to do this, and thanks especially to Jose Semedo for being a complete gent.

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Unread article 11/12/2013 at 20:31

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