Keiren Westwood on Sheffield Wednesday part three: Garry Monk, being frozen out with Sam Hutchinson and life under Tony Pulis
Ex-Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Keiren Westwood has spoken about his his troubled relationship with Garry Monk, life under Tony Pulis and the heartbreak of relegation from the Championship last season.
In a no-holds-barred 75-minute interview with The Star, the Republic of Ireland international revealed all on a difficult final few weeks in Wednesday colours and touched on some of his toughest periods with the Owls across a seven-year stay with the club.
In this, the third and final transcript of the talk, Westwood maintains there was no major fall-out with the ex-Wednesday boss and reveals what ‘doesn’t sit right with him’ loking back on his time in South Yorkshire.
Part One of our three-part interview – including Keiren’s memories of his early days at Wednesday, Dejphon Chansiri and Wembley woe – is available to read HERE.
Part Two of our three-part interview – on Premier League interest, Fernando Forestieri’s Norwich debacle and Steve Bruce – is available to read HERE.
You were ‘frozen out’ under Garry Monk. What happened?
People think that Garry and I fell out. We didn't. We really didn't. There wasn't a bad word said between us. People make decisions.
What the manager says goes. You have to respect it. As much as you don't want to and as much as you maybe do want to scream and shout and say something, you can't. Where's it going to get you?
If a manager makes a decision and says 'look, thanks but no thanks', what are you going to do? You have to do what he wants and says and move on.
..but you understand the question marks, given it was the same two names again?
It wasn’t just us. I’m not going to start naming people, but a few others got the same treatment. Because me and Hutch were named with what had happened, it was made something bigger. But it wasn’t just me and Hutch, there were numerous other players.
That sort of thing happens at football clubs. I’m a lot of things, but I’m not a liar. I promise you I don’t lie and you might not like what I’ve got to say, but I promise you, I’m not a liar.
I never had a bad word or a falling out with Garry Monk or Jos. I never did.
How was it from a personal point of view?
It’s tough, a really tough one, I won’t lie.
I was driving into training on my own, training with the younger lads. It is hard. I’m not going to sit here and play the victim, I’m really not.
What I do is look inward, I don’t blame anyone else. If anything happens first and foremost I look straight in the mirror.
Ultimately you get a new goal. In the under-23s it became about helping the new lads, helping Weavs and Tommy Lee. My new goal was to improve the keepers and help them every single day. I like to think I did that by setting standards, turning up to training and showing them what to do.
I might have been training with under-16s or under-17s keepers, but it was upto me to show them if they are aspiring to have a career in the game, this is what you need to do.
I never sulked. Managers make decisions, you have to respect it, you move on.
Are you still in touch with the lads?
I'm still in touch with a few of the lads going way back and some of the lads from last season too.
I speak with Baz, Palms, Hutch from a long way back but I spoke to Dunks the other day. I'm really happy for him. He came with an injury and was thrown back in a bit early and he did that. He's reaping the rewards of working hard in the off season and looks fit. He's been playing really well.
It was a tough one. I wasn't involved obviously, but they went down to Cardiff and won 2-0 and I fancied them to stay up. I was still there, I was speaking to the lads and I was invested.
But there was that week against Wycombe, Rotherham and Luton. They were cup final games. I wasn't in the dressing room but that would have taken a lot out of the lads. When you get beaten by the teams in and around you, that confidence was hit. It was disappointing.
What did you think to Tony Pulis’ time at Wednesday?
I've only got good things to say about Tony. Look, it wasn't a good stint but he brought me back. I can only respect him for that. It was out of nowhere, I was training on the astroturf with the under-23s. We weren't allowed to train on the grass and it was tough going on the body. You can't train properly, it's not ideal.
Tony had us in to train and wanted me in. I wasn't even registered at the time and he couldn't understand that. I was honest with him and told him I hadn't really trained and how tough it had been on the astroturf. I hadn't kicked or anything.
How much did it hurt to finish things how they did?
It was horrible to finish on a relegation, to finish on 199 games. It feels awful, doesn’t sit right with at all that I left Wednesday on a relegation. I’d never been relegated before in my career at all.
That club means so much to me and all my family, it feels awful.
It finished horrendously badly. I met some great friends, played with some great players and under some great managers.
But ultimately we fell short and didn’t manager to achieve what we wanted to do, but we had a good time along the way.
It didn’t finish well for me, but these things happen. That’s football and you have to take it on the chin and move on. It’s as simple as that.