Sheffield Wednesday: ‘He is one of the best goalkeepers in the league’ – Garry Monk pays tribute to Keiren Westwood

Form is temporary, class is permanent.

Monday, 16th September 2019, 11:55 am
Updated Monday, 16th September 2019, 22:11 pm

Keiren Westwood emphatically proved that old adage to be the case in Wednesday's Yorkshire derby meeting with Huddersfield Town.

When the vastly-experienced goalkeeper was called upon on Sunday afternoon, Westwood delivered.

He was forced into action on a couple of occasions by Terence Kongolo. His second half stop to thwart the the Terriers left-back was a particularly key moment with the score 1-0.

Wednesday goalkeeper Keiren Westwood

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Wednesday made the contest safe with 18 minutes remaining when substitute Sam Winnall glanced home Barry Bannan's delightful cross.

But no one should forget Westwood's contribution in the win.

Garry Monk, the Owls manager, told The Star: "It is vitally important that he made a couple of saves.

"He did not have a lot to do, but he made the saves and that is what he is there for."

There had been concerns over Westwood's form following his mixed start to the season. The 34-year-old, a big fans' favourite, was sent off on the opening-day at Reading and also received some criticism after conceding a soft goal from a corner in the away defeat to Millwall.

But the signs are that Westwood is getting back to his brilliant best.

"Of course, Keiren has been one of the best keepers in the league," said Monk. "He has had some injury problems in recent seasons, but a fully-fit Keiren is one of the best keepers in this league - if not the best."

Things could hardly have gone any better for Monk in his first match at the helm. The Owls kept a clean sheet, scored two goals and picked up three points.

Yet Monk insists there is plenty more to come from his side.

The 40-year-old said: "It is a good start, but we will not be getting carried away and we have a lot of tough games coming in a short period of time before the next international break.

"We want to try and do a lot of work and show a lot of improvement to make sure we take a lot more points."

Victory moved Wednesday back into the Championship's top 10, four points off league leaders Leeds United.

Next up is a tough-looking home assignment with promotion hopefuls Fulham.

Monk, who spent three months on loan with the Owls during his playing career, said: "It should be fantastic.

"I remember Hillsbrough and whenever I have been there as a visiting manager, it has been a big atmosphere.

"We need the the fans and I can assure that myself and the players give everything for them - and vice versa so they give everything to us.

"If we can get that harmony with each other and fight - even when it is good and bad - that is how we will get successful and move forward as a club."