How the return of ‘best in the league’ Keiren Westwood has boosted Sheffield Wednesday’s defensive unit

It’s never nice to be shouted at, but sometimes it’s necessary to keep clean sheets.

Monday, 21st January 2019, 3:02 pm
Updated Monday, 21st January 2019, 3:05 pm
Owls keeper Keiren Westwood and Michael Hector. Pic Steve Ellis

And defender Michael Hector believes its one of the reasons why having Keiren Westwood back in the Sheffield Wednesday squad has been a major contribution the Owls’ defensive security under Lee Bullen and Steve Agnew.

Wednesday are blessed with a choice of quality options in their goalkeeping ranks with Westwood, Cameron Dawson and Joe Wildsmith all competing for the number one spot the season.

Owls keeper Keiren Westwood and Michael Hector. Pic Steve Ellis

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Fan favourite Westwood was reinstated as the starting choice between the sticks after Jos Luhukay’s departure at Hillsborough, which Chelsea loanee Hector says has completed an experienced core running through the Owls team.

“Keiren has been one of the best goalkeepers in the league for a number of years now,” Hector said.

“Keiren coming in, obviously he is more experienced, a fans’ favourite. He shouts a lot behind me - which is not nice - but sometimes you need it.

“It’s been a big boost to have him back, his experience has helped us a lot.”

It is yet to be seen if Westwood will be replaced by Dawson in this weekend’s FA Cup fourth round tie against Chelsea, with the latter having kept two clean sheets against Luton Town in the third round.

Dawson had been preferred to Westwood under previous manager Luhukay but Hector believes having two top-class ‘keepers has been beneficial to Wednesday this campaign.

He said: “Cameron Dawson has been excellent, but it’s tough to have a goalkeeper of Keiren’s stature behind you. You get judged every game.

“With Sam (Hutchinson) coming back, the core of the team looks more solid now.

“You can see with the results we have had - obviously the Hull game we didn’t perform - but we put in some decent performances. Our record is a lot better now.”

Wednesday’s next defensive test will come against some of the best offensive players in the world at Stamford Bridge, but Hector will not be eligible for selection due to competition rules which prevent him from playing against his parent club. 

Instead the 26-year-old, who admits he would love to play in the tie, will be forced to watch on with the sold-out travelling contingent of 5,917 Wednesdayites when the match kicks off at 6pm on Sunday.

Hector, who is yet to make a senior appearance for Chelsea after being sent out on four loan spells, will remain on loan at Hillsborough until the end of the season.