Sheffield Wednesday: The stats make pleasant reading for Owls star
As a fully paid-up member of the goalkeeper's union, Keiren Westwood openly admits that keeping clean sheets are important to him.
The Republic of Ireland international takes great pride in recording shut outs. As Westwood is keen to point out, it is his way of contributing to the team’s cause.
And Westwood does not hide from the fact that he keeps a very close eye on his and the team’s statistics.
The 33-year-old was left distraught at the end of the Owls’ 2-1 triumph at Aston Villa earlier this month. Christopher Samba’s strike in added on time denied Westwood a 50th clean sheet in Wednesday colours. As he left the pitch and headed down the tunnel towards the away dressing room, Westwood was visibly upset and had to be consoled by teammate Steven Fletcher, pictured below.
“I was gutted (not to keep a clean sheet at Villa) as it would have been my 50th,” Westwood told The Star. “But we won the game so you have to put these things into perspective.
“I was disappointed but the lads were great with me. They always are.
“The most frustrating thing for me, personally, was to concede in the last 10 seconds of the game but we picked up the three points and won convincingly at Villa.”
Westwood, a fiercely proud, ambitious individual, did not have to wait long to achieve the impressive feat. Two weeks in fact.
He foiled Bristol City substitute Milan Djuric in a one-on-one situation in the second half to ensure the Owls chalked up a welcome clean sheet.
Westwood, who joined Wednesday on a free transfer in July 2014, said: “I was delighted to keep my 50th clean sheet (against Bristol City). It has been great since I came to the club.
“Fifty clean sheets is great. If a striker scored 50 goals, they would be delighted with that.
“But a clean sheet is not just down to me. When you keep a clean sheet, it is down to a whole host of reasons. Everybody has to put a shift in.
“It could be a striker heading away a corner, a defender clearing off the line, a midfielder tracking a runner or the full-backs tucking around. It’s about everybody. Obviously, a clean sheet goes down as a stat for me. It is a little bit like when a striker scores. It is his name.
“But everybody keeps those clean sheets.”
Westwood added to his outstanding shut out haul last weekend as Wednesday were held to a goalless draw against Reading. It was only the Owls’ fourth of a rollercoaster season.
Westwood, formerly of Carlisle United, Coventry City and Sunderland, has racked up 51 clean sheets in 141 Owls starts.
“As long as we keep picking up points, that’s all that matters,” insisted Westwood. “If we win games 2-1, I would be a little sad, from a personal perspective, but just as happy.
“The most important thing is we win games.”
Six points and five places separate the Owls from Derby County, who occupy the final play-off berth.
Expectation levels have soared at Hillsborough following back-to-back top-six finishes.
However, Carvalhal’s side are in danger of falling too far behind their promotion rivals after drawing four out of their last six fixtures.
Westwood said: “We want to stay in and around the play-offs.
“If we can win games and do that, then that would be great.”