Wales midfielder is going from strength to strength

          PLAYER PROFILE | Josh Sheehan

          2020/11/18 15:49
          By Ollie Smith

          League Two leaders Newport have made a tremendous start to the 2020/21 season - and, fresh from his first international call-up by Wales, Josh Sheehan has been an integral part of their success. 

          The Exiles have bagged 25 points from a possible 33 during the current campaign: six league victories in October earning boss Michael Flynn the SkyBet League Two Manager of the Month award.

          Combined with several impressive cup runs and an overhaul of County’s style of play, Flynn has transformed Newport into genuine promotion candidates since he stepped into the breach to stave off relegation back in 2016/17. 

          ©Getty / Alex Pantling

          Central figure

          A key cog in Flynn’s well-oiled Newport machine, central midfielder Sheehan hasn’t missed a minute of League Two action so far this campaign.

          Despite rumours circulating that Sheehan was set to leave in the last window, Newport have kept hold of the influential playmaker who is now well established as one of League Two’s best players.

          The Welshman has been in electric form since the start of the season, controlling the game from a deeper midfield role while still contributing offensively (with 14 shots so far this season, he is only one shot worse off than team-mate and experienced forward Padraig Amond!).

          While he doesn’t excel in terms of goals and assists, it is clear Sheehan is vital in keeping the play ticking over and transitioning from defense to attack.

          He draws 2.3 fouls per game and controls possession with 46.6 average passes and 4.8 long balls, the second highest in the Exiles squad for each category.

          Sheehan's 83% passing accuracy is the best at his club this season and - after ranking second in the division for tackles won last season - he again tops Newport's tackling stats with on average 1.8 tackles per game. 

          ©Getty / Athena Pictures

          International recognition

          The Exiles midfielder was rewarded for his superb form with a first call-up to Ryan Giggs’ Wales squad and - with Giggs absent following his off-pitch travails - Welsh caretaker manager Rob Page has spoken glowingly about Sheehan's ability to slot in alongside the likes of Premier League stars, such as Gareth Bale and Daniel James.

          Talking to the South Wales Argus, Page said: “Josh can pass, he can see a pass, he’s not afraid to play it forward and take those chances. Technically he is up there with some of the best players that we have got here.

          “Like any other player on that park, if he trains well, and we know he’s been playing well in a good Newport team, then he stands a chance. He will certainly be considered.”

          After being involved at under-19 and under-21 level for Wales, as a youngster coming through at Swansea, a senior call-up was a long time coming, but Sheehan capped a sensational start to the season by making his debut in the Dragons' 0-0 draw with USA last week. 

          Sheehan was called up alongside Exiles goalkeeper Tom King, which marked the first time Newport have had two players in the Wales squad since 1983.

          Overcoming adversity

          The rise to the international scene has not been easy for Sheehan – who has had to cope with being released by Swansea in 2018 and long spells out injured. 

          Sheehan has buckled down and put his injury woes behind him: making 142 appearances in all competitions for Newport to date.

          Combining a tireless work ethic with inventive passing ability, his versatility has seen him deployed as a box-to-box midfielder, a more creative attacking player, or a deep-lying playmaker.

          Sheehan now finds himself in contention to play some part in Wales' Nations League clash against Finland tonight.

          The Welshman is certainly riding the crest of a wave and his outstanding form so far this season can only bode well for Newport, as they look to mount a serious assault on the automatic promotion places in League Two this season. 


          Josh Sheehan
          NameJoshua Luke Sheehan
          Born1995-03-30(25 -yrs-old)


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