De Bilde fills the void

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The Independent Online

WITHOUT AN Italian in sight, Wednesday were a delight, leaving Wimbledon in wretched disarray. But the suggestion that BenitoCarbone will not be missed did not draw the expected reply from Danny Wilson.

WITHOUT AN Italian in sight, Wednesday were a delight, leaving Wimbledon in wretched disarray. But the suggestion that BenitoCarbone will not be missed did not draw the expected reply from Danny Wilson.

"To say that we will not miss him is not right," said the Wednesday manager. "But you cannot be in a position such as we are innow without commitment and Beni is not committed to us."

Whether the latest fallen Wednesday icon will commit himself to another club is likely to be revealed this week, when DerbyCounty and Aston Villa follow up their initial inquiries. But even if neither takes the matter further, Carbone appears to have madehis last appearance for Wilson's team. "He asked to be left out," Wilson said. "He thinks that if he is going to go it is for the best."

Everything in Wilson's manner on Saturday evening suggested a huge sense of relief. Carbone may no longer be his problem,Wednesday may not, after all, have forgotten how to play and the notion that their manager cannot handle foreign players lookssomewhat difficult, in the light of this result, to sustain.

This was a performance fashioned superbly by a Dutchman, aided by a Belgian and a Norwegian, with another Dutchmanstealing some of the glory at the death. In all, there were seven non-British players wearing blue and white stripes, which did notpoint to a manager ill at ease with a cosmopolitan line-up. "I don't care if they come from Timbuktu, so long as they can play,"Wilson said.

Carbone might as well have been in Timbuktu as Gilles de Bilde, the Belgian striker for whom Wilson paid £3m, steppedinto the starring role, casting off the inhibitions of an uncertain start to score his first two Premiership goals. His contribution camesecond only to that of Wim Jonk, the Dutch midfielder who had been missing for six games because of ankle trouble but whoreturned to score the first goal, set up by De Bilde, and lay on three others.

A nine-match wait for any kind of goal from De Bilde brought more pressure on Wilson, but his support for the former PSVEindhoven player has not wavered.

Egil Olsen, the Wimbledon manager, will search for answers of his own after watching a capitulation that betrayed an ominouslack of spirit. Since they won at Hillsborough in March, with Joe Kinnear in hospital after his heart attack, Wimbledon haveenjoyed only one more victory in 21 attempts.

Goals: Jonk (9) 1-0; Hartson (14) 1-1; De Bilde (23) 2-1; Rudi (70) 3- 1; De Bilde (82) 4-1; Sibon (90) 5-1.

Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-2): Srnicek; Atherton, Thome, Walker, Nolan; Alexandersson, Sonner (Donnelly, 84), Jonk, Rudi; Booth(Sibon, 88), De Bilde. Substitutes not used: Cresswell, Newsome, Pressman (gk).

Wimbledon (4-3-3): Sullivan; Cunningham, Andersen (Kimble, 35),Blackwell, Thatcher; Badir (Earle, 56), Roberts (Leaburn, 74),Euell; Cort, Hartson, Gayle. Substitutes not used: Jupp, Davis (gk).

Referee: P Durkin (Portland).

Man of the match: Jonk.

Attendance: 18,077.

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