Imagine that moment, stepping out onto the Hillsborough turf in front of an audience of thousands wearing the blue and white stripes of Sheffield Wednesday, the club you support and loved as a child. This dream became reality for Owls fan, academy product and now senior player Liam Palmer.
Liam, now 24, recently surpassed his 100th league appearance for the club – this milestone is some achievement for a player who came through the academy set up, beginning with Wednesday at the early age of seven.
Palmer made his first league appearance back in February 2011 against Bournemouth. Since then, the Owls’ number 2 has been an integral part of the first team set up as a versatile right-back or central midfielder.
To help aid his development, a special mention goes out to Tranmere Rovers. Palmer made a total of 46 appearances in all competitions on loan at Rovers throughout the 2012/13 campaign.
Furthermore, Liam has represented both Scotland Under-19s (4 caps) and the Under-21s (8 caps). A senior international cap is very much on Palmer’s wish list. At such a young age, Liam’s efficiency, drive and ambition will hopefully see him play regularly on the international stage – that elusive call-up awaits.
The 2013/14 season saw Palmer produce glowing, exquisite and eye-catching performances, conclusively named as the Owls’ Player of the Year – some feat for the then 22-year-old.
This week I caught up with Liam for quick fire Q&A’s:
Q: How come you supported Sheffield Wednesday as a child?
A: I did ever since I joined the club at the age of seven.
Q: First ever SWFC match attended?
A: First match at Hillsborough I remember is one against Middlesbrough. I remember being sat in the Kop and watching Juninho and thinking how good he was that game.
Q: Favourite SWFC moment as a fan?
A: Without doubt it was the play-off final in Cardiff in 2005. What a day!
Q: Proudest moment in your career to date?
A: Besides my debut and first goal, I’d have to say the season we pipped Sheffield United to promotion.
Q: Favourite childhood player, and why?
A: Steven Gerrard. I played central midfield growing up and he was my idol. His passing ability, passion and the goals he scored were unbelievable
Q: Current favourite player(s) and why?
A: Hard to look past Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi at the moment. They are just on a different planet.
Q: Best friend at the club?
A: Kieran Lee.
Q: Do you have any pre-match rituals?
A: Always touch the sign in the tunnel before home games.
Q: Future aspirations?
A: Win an international cap for Scotland.
Q: What other team’s results do you look out for, and why?
A: I always look out for Tranmere’s result because I was on loan there and I want to see them do well.
Q: Having come through the academy at Sheffield Wednesday, what’s your number one tip to all young aspiring footballers?
A: For me it’s really all about enjoyment. Play with a smile on your face and practise. You never stop learning.
Q: Expectations this season?
A: We’ve been on a good run. Hopefully that can continue and we can stay in contention for the top-six.
Q: Where do you see yourself and Sheffield Wednesday in three years?
A: Hopefully playing in an established Sheffield Wednesday Premier League team.
The now 24-year-old has remarkably been at Sheffield Wednesday for a total of 17 years. A devoted fan and player, we can proudly say Liam is very much one of our own.
Palmer is contracted to the Owls until 2018 making him one of the most sustained ever present players at Hillsborough in recent times, and hopefully he can fulfil his ambition of international and Premier League football over the next few years.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Liam for answering my questions, all the best for the future. You can follow him on Twitter @LiamJPalmer.