Joe Rankin-Costello’s performances in training pushed him to the front of the queue when it came to deciding the substitutes bench at Sheffield Wednesday.

And after an enterprising cameo, topped off with an assist for Sam Gallagher, boss Tony Mowbray says the 20-year-old will soon be pushing for a regular place.

Rankin-Costello made his league debut at Hillsborough, and just his third senior appearance in all, but struggled for fitness over the festive period which saw him not involved. But he was promoted above fellow youngsters Harry Chapman and John Buckley to make the matchday 18 against the Owls and has been a stand-out performer for the Under-23s all season.

He was brought on in his favoured left wing role, but has shown his versatility for the Academy side, and continued to impress the first-team boss.

“He’s a wonderful player,” Mowbray told the Lancashire Telegraph.

“He was the best player in training all week, the best player by a long way.

“Then we’re trying to pick the bench, discussing it with my staff, and John Buckley, a lad who we’ve been pushing on and giving quite a bit of game-time, doesn’t make the bench.

“You couldn’t have not put Rankin-Costello on the bench after the week he’d had.

“He’s going to score goals, he can play anywhere, right back, centre mid, wide right, wide left, off the striker, he will get in the box, he can head it, he can help out with set plays, he’s as strong as an ox, he’s got a heart of the size of a lion. He’s a footballer.

“Somewhere down the line he’s going to be a regular in the team.

“For him I hope it’s with Buckley, Davenport, Nyambe, Travis and Armstrong and this club can keep going in the right direction.

“You saw the benefit of having a 35-year-old (Stewart Downing) in the middle of the pitch, making it look easy, and sometimes you need to balance off young players with some experience.”

Meanwhile, Sheffield Wednesday have appealed against the red card shown to midfielder Massimo Luongo in the first half.

The Australian was given his marching order by fellow countryman Jarred Gillet just 23 minutes in to the 5-0 defeat.

Luongo was deemed to have got in late, and over the ball, in a challenge with Lewis Travis, though Mowbray didn’t see the originally incident.

He said: “I didn’t see the tackle. I would normally throw my arms up, but I didn’t see the tackle.

“It was a coming together and Lewis went down, which is not like him.

“The referee was on the spot and gave a red card.

“It’s not an Arsene Wenger, I genuinely didn’t see the challenge, studs up or scraping down his leg, I didn’t see anything.

“The referee saw what he saw and gave the red card.”