Sunday 25 February 2018

Corry refuses to panic amid uncertainty at Wednesday

Paul Corry's move to Sheffield has been an eye-opener for him, as he tells Seán Ryan

Paul Corry is one of the new breed of League of Ireland transfers
Paul Corry is one of the new breed of League of Ireland transfers

Sean Ryan

FROM hot prospect at UCD to bit-part player with relegation-threatened Sheffield Wednesday may seem a bit of a comedown for Dubliner Paul Corry, but he retains a positive, glass half-full rather than half-empty, approach despite experiencing his share of ups and downs since signing in August 2012.

His first season was full of promise. Then-manager Dave Jones gave him a run in the first team after his arrival. "I played five games in a row," he recalled, "then he took me out for a rest, and I came back in for the Watford game which we lost 4-1. The manager then decided to go for more experienced midfielders and changed the way we were playing. It was understandable because we were in the relegation zone, and it worked because we ground out results and stayed up. But it was frustrating for me because I was used to playing games."

To keep him match-fit, Wednesday loaned Corry to League One side Tranmere Rovers. "It was an emergency loan for 28 days, and I played six games in that time. But there was no chance of extending the loan, as they needed to offload me to bring in a defender."

Looking back on his first-team experience, Corry takes heart from it: "In the games I played, I did well, apart from the Watford game, and that wasn't a great team performance. It's all part of my learning process.

"The move from UCD was an eye-opener. I was coming from part-time to full-time, but it was all very much a positive experience. When you are playing in front of 20-25,000, it makes you realise what you're over here for."

Corry is one of the new breed of League of Ireland transfers, in that he delayed his move to England until he had completed his education. In 2009, he had the chance of signing for Burnley, but turned them down for a scholarship at UCD, where he completed his B.Comm.

A playmaker, with a radar-like left foot, Corry likes to get the ball down and pass it. When his agent, Eamonn Collins, set up the deal with Wednesday it seemed a good fit, but relegation worries change priorities.

"The Championship is such an even league that you don't know how results are going to go," said Corry. "There are teams who do play -- and we have been good in that respect in the last few games -- but games are often so tight that teams resort to a more direct style.

"My philosophy is that you can't go out being afraid to make mistakes, and it's encouraging that the likes of Swansea, and others who have gone up, have done so playing a passing game."

This should have been Corry's season to push on and build on last season's experience, but injuries have held him back.

"I injured my ankle ligaments in a reserve game against Huddersfield, and I was only back when I tweaked a ligament in my knee in training. I was out for about eight weeks.

"Recovering from injury is a lonely process. You're not much use to the manager, so you're down his list of priorities. Any communication is between the physio and the manager rather than with the player.

"At UCD, they didn't have the same budget so Martin Russell's responsibilities were greater and he was more hands-on than the manager here. Here the managers have more of a spectator role as regards training, and they leave the coaching to the assistant manager or the first-team coach."

Since Jones was sacked, first team coach Stuart Gray has been in the hot seat, and one of his first actions was to restore Corry to the first-team squad. "It's nice to be back in and around the team. My awareness and touch are good because I'm training with the first team. I'm only missing match sharpness. It's difficult for English clubs to measure your Irish CV, so I need to build up my CV here, and that's all about first-team football."

Having signed a three-year contract in 2012, Corry is in the fortunate position of having time on his side. "I have another year left, so it's not quite panic stations at the moment."

With Wednesday due to appoint their new manager this week -- and Gray in pole position -- Corry's future could be one of the first items on his agenda. Whether that means first-team football or a further spell on the bench, Corry's attitude is spot-on: "You can't let things get you down, it's important to stay positive. No matter what game you play, you never know who's watching, so you have to be ready when the chance comes your way."

Irish Independent

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