'I'd swim across the water...' Sheffield Wednesday keeper Keiren Westwood on playing for Republic of Ireland again
It may be nearly four years since his last international cap, but Keiren Westwood says he would jump at the opportunity to play for the Republic of Ireland again.
Now that the Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper has been brought back in from the cold at Hillsborough following lengthy spells on the sidelines, notably enforced under former managers Jos Luhukay and Garry Monk, Westwood is currently the only Irish stopper playing regularly at a high level.
The Republic’s regaular number one Darren Randolph has found game-time hard to come by since moving from Middlesbrough to West Ham, while up ang coming young keeper Caoimhín Kelleher is highy rated at Liverpool but wil find it difficult to get past one of the best in Europe in Alisson Becker.
Westwood’s return to action under Neil Thompson will surely put him at least into the thinking of Irish manager Stephen Kenny ahead of the Republic’s World Cup qualifying campaign and the 36 year old insists he would never turn his back on a recall to the international set-up.
“When Mick was in charge I was playing at Wednesday but I had a few niggles and stuff,” Westwood told The42. “He just said: ‘you’re 35 years old, you’ve got three kids, I don’t really want to be dragging you here, there and everywhere because obviously Randy [Darren Randolph] is going to play.’
“I was absolutely fine with that, no problem. He asked me if he needed me would I come, and I said I’d swim across the water to do it, of course.
“I haven’t spoken to Stephen Kenny. To be fair, when he came in I wasn’t playing for Wednesday. I was 35 and he already knew the young goalies as well.”
Westwood added: “I’m not saying I should be playing or I should be in the squad just because I’m playing for Wednesday. I don’t want to give it that spiel because that’s just not me.
“It’s down to whatever the manager wants to do. If he wants to pick me, great, I’ll be delighted. If he doesn’t, like I say, international football retires you, you don’t retire from international football.”