How Keiren Westwood's predecessor Chris Kirkland sees the goalkeeping situation at Sheffield Wednesday
Joe Wildsmith has what it takes to battle Cameron Dawson all the way for a place between the sticks at Sheffield Wednesday, former Owls number one Chris Kirkland has told The Star.
The former Liverpool stopper, who played 90 times for Wednesday across three seasons, was usurped by the incoming Keiren Westwood in 2014.
And Kirkland, who played a fatherly role in the development of then-England youth internationals Dawson and Wildsmith at Hillsborough, described the freezing-out of his successor Westwood as ‘unfortunate’ but said the healthy rivalry between the two younger men is one to watch.
Kirkland made clear he had a good relationship with all three keepers and said the friendship between the two currently in favour will push them on to great things.
“I trained with Joe and Cammy all the time,” he said. “Sometimes you just train together all day, you don’t go with the rest of the players, so you just have to get on.
“I haven’t spoken to either of them as regularly as I used to but they know I’m always there if they ever want a chat or advice.
“You need that competition there to spur you on and improve you more than anything. I was fortunate in that more or less everywhere I went I was either trying to push my way in or there was a very good goalkeeper challenging me for my spot.”
Now 38 and working as a prominent ambassador for positive mental health, Kirkland outlined the goalkeeping stakes as an area of real strength for the club.
He said: “They’ve done well. The situation with Westy, whatever the situation is there is obviously unfortunate, but the two young lads could be there for the next 10 or 15 years pushing each other.
“And they will do. They’ve got a great bond and a great relationship and I’m sure they’ll be there for many years to come yet.
“It’s a good thing for the football club and the types of lads that they are, they’ll continue to keep getting the best out of one another.”