Sheffield Wednesday: Tough choice for ‘frustrated’ Owls keeper

Chris Kirkland
Chris Kirkland
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Of the five out-of-contract players to whom the Owls have offered new deals, one faces a much more difficult decision than the others.

As it stands currently, Glenn Loovens, Jose Semedo, Kieran Lee and Chris Maguire could all expect to be at least semi-regular players for Sheffield Wednesday next season.

The quartet racked up a combined 141 appearances during this campaign, a figure that would have been greater but for injuries.

The fifth player set to open discussions over a new deal is Chris Kirkland, whose place in the Owls reckoning is far from assured.

Due to the stunning form of Keiren Westwood throughout the season, Kirkland was restricted to just seven starts, four of which came in the cups.

Kirkland stood in for the injured Westwood on the final day of the season at Watford and produced a performance suggesting he could be a regular starter at Championship level.

The 34-year-old faces the choice of accepting the new deal, likely to spend next season as understudy to Westwood again, or rejecting it for regular football elsewhere.

It is a choice that Kirkland has hinted at throughout the season when questioned about his own future.

“It’s been extremely tough this season,” Kirkland told the Star in January after starting against Manchester City in the FA Cup. “I’ve gone from playing most of my career to hardly playing.

“It’s tough but again it’s not about individuals, it’s about what’s best for the team.”

Kirkland admitted in January that he was desperate for games and would have liked to have gone out on loan – with former club Coventry City heavily linked – if Wednesday were in agreement.

He also said he hoped to be playing regular football before the end of the season.

It seems likely a long list of suitors will show interest in Kirkland this summer, testing his desire for first team football.