Sheffield Wednesday: Persistence pays off for Cameron Dawson
His goalkeeping journey may have only just begun - but Cameron Dawson has already managed to achieve a liftetime goal.
The talented youngster has admitted there have been times where he thought he might never start a match for his boyhood club.
However, Dawson’s hard work and patience finally paid off last Saturday. Keiren Westwood’s back injury handed the former England Under-18 and U19 international a chance to play from the off against Queens Park Rangers.
Dawson told The Star: “I would be lying if I said that I always thought I was going to play for Wednesday and it was all plain sailing.
“The fact is we are in a tough business.
“It has been important over the last couple of years just to keep working hard and make sure I do myself justice so that I can try to forge out a career for myself.
“I feel very fortunate now that I have had an opportunity and I’m just going to carry on working hard.”
Barring one careless piece of distribution early on and a miscalculation in the dying minutes, Dawson produced an impressive, assured performance. The former Silverdale School pupil certainly didn’t look out of place in that company, making a series of fine saves either side of half-time as Wednesday kept a clean sheet and continued their fine run of form.
“It couldn’t have gone much better from my point of view,” conceded Dawson. “The back four really looked after me out there. I wasn’t overly busy.
“It was a very positive performance which meant I wasn’t too busy.”
It had been a long time coming for Dawson, who has been on Wednesday’s books since the age of 15 and embarking on his fourth year as a professional.
He said: “It was extra special with it being at Hillsborough and walking out of the tunnel in front of just short of 26,000. It was just a great feeling.”
Brought up in Millhouses, Dawson has supported the Owls since he was a boy.
“I come from a family of Owls fans and a lot of my friends are too,” he said. “They were really pleased for me to get my first start.
“When I was little, my dad used to take me down to Hillsborough when he could.I have always gone to Wednesday games.”
Ten of Dawson’s close friends and family watched him in action last weekend. He was inundated with kind messages on Saturday night.
Dawson said: “I had lots of nice messages which was positive after we got a good result.
“We thought seven points out of a nine was a good return from the tough schedule that we had.
“We had a short recovery time between games so it was tough. Before the week if somebody had offered us seven from nine, I think we would have snapped their hands off for that.”
The 21-year-old is not a superstitious person, but there’s one thing he will be keeping exactly the same if he is selected at Derby County tomorrow.
“I found out before the QPR game that we were wearing black armbands,” he said. “I picked up mine and gave it to Andy Rhodes (Owls goalkeeping coach) and asked him to put it on.
“I gave him my right arm to which he said ‘no, they go on your left!’
“I replied ‘it went on my right at Cardiff the other night and it went alright so it is staying there.’
“His response was ‘that’s a good enough reason for me’ so it went on my right arm!”
Next up for Wednesday is a trip to a Derby side who qualified for the Championship Play-Off’s last year but are currently hovering just above the relegation zone.
“It is a bit of a surprise to see them down there,” said Dawson. “Their league position might say they are fourth from bottom but when you look at the quality of names they have on their teamsheet, I think it is quite clear that come the end of the season they won’t be in that position.
“They have reappointed Steve McClaren as boss and I’m quite sure with the quality of players they have got they will find their way to get back up the league. I wouldn’t put it past them to be challenging at the end of the season.”