Sheffield Wednesday: Keiren Westwood praised by Rotherham United boss Steve Evans

Keiren Westwood
Keiren Westwood
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Without the heroics of goalkeeper Keiren Westwood, Sheffield Wednesday would be a lot lower down the Championship table.

Time and time again the Republic of Ireland international has come to the Owls’ rescue, making crucial saves at vital moments in matches.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s South Yorkshire derby, Rotherham United manager Steve Evans has admitted he is a big admirer of Westwood, who was released by Sunderland last summer.

“What a goalkeeper Keiren Westwood is,” he said. “I think a number of clubs would have liked to have signed the boy. For all arguments, he’s a Premier League player playing in the Championship. If he was playing for Sunderland in the Premiership tomorrow nobody would blink.

“Keiren’s got some top, top players in front of him. The boy, Glenn Loovens, I was fed up watching him be outstanding at Celtic, but it was great as a Celtic fan. It’s not just their back four. Across the middle they’re particularly strong. Chris Maguire can be deployed right or up top and he’s a hell of a talent. I first saw him as a young man at Aberdeen and he’s a top player.

“They have an array of talent and we have to be ready to match that.”

Evans regards Owls boss Stuart Gray as a “very talented manager” and thinks he has done an “absolutely outstanding job” in his 11 months in charge.

He said: “They’ve got an outstanding squad of players. They’ve just found themselves on a little bad run of form, and that happens to the best. Manchester City are the best. It’s happening to them now.

“It’s only three weeks some fans were saying they were going to get promoted to the Premier League. Three weeks later, how football can change. We’re no different. We lose a couple of games and suddenly my players are not very good and I’m not very good. You have to deal with that.”

* Owls shot-stopper Joe Wildsmith has been called up to the England Under-20 squad.