Sheffield Wednesday chief Steve Bruce opens up on new contract for Keiren Westwood
Steve Bruce, the Sheffield Wednesday manager, has expressed his joy over Keiren Westwood extending his Hillsborough stay.
The popular goalkeeper, signed by Stuart Gray on a free transfer in the summer of 2014, has signed a new two-year contract.
Westwood, frozen out by former boss Jos Luhukay in the first half of last season, was handed a first-team recall by Lee Bullen just before Christmas. He produced a series of superb performances, recording an impressive 11 clean sheets in 21 outings as Wednesday finished 12th in the Championship standings.
Bruce, who worked briefly with Westwood at Sunderland, said: "Westwood proved to everybody (last year) that he is a very, very good goalkeeper. One of the big moves we did early on was put him back in the team and straight away he calmed the back four down remarkably well.
"He's a very, very competent goalkeeper."
Westwood scooped the Owls player of the season award in his first season after claiming an outstanding 17 clean sheets, equalling a long-standing club record. The Republic of Ireland international was also named in the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) Championship Team of the Year.
Westwood also played an instrumental role in the Wednesday side that reached back-to-back play-offs under Carlos Carvalhal, lifting the club’s official Player of the Year award for the second time in his S6 career in 2017.
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The 34-year-old, a model of consistency in between the sticks, has racked up 164 appearances for the Owls.
"Thirty four is nothing for a goalkeeper," insisted Bruce. "He (Westwood) is going to be our goalkeeper for the next couple of years at least and I'm delighted about that."
Bruce is spoilt for choice in the goalkeeping department as Wednesday have Westwood and highly-rated academy duo Cameron Dawson and Joe Wildsmith on their books.
On his goalkeeping stable, Bruce: "Well, that's always a problem when you are a goalkeeper; you can only pick one of them. All of us want three and we are very blessed that we have two very good young ones.
"I haven't really seen much of Cameron Dawson apart from the end of last season and more importantly I haven't seen much of Joe (Wildsmith).
"Pre-season will let me have a look at them and what they have got.
"I think we are very fortunate to have two young ones, however, it does cause you a problem.
"But we will address that problem if we need to and it might be that I might just rotate the two younger ones to keep them involved."