Why Sheffield Wednesday star Keiren Westwood is happy to pass on his wisdom to the next generation

As one of the elder statesman in Sheffield Wednesday's squad, Keiren Westwood is revelling in the role of passing on his experience to the next generation.

Friday, 8th November 2019, 8:33 am
Updated Friday, 8th November 2019, 7:15 pm

The 35-year-old says he has enjoyed working closely with Owls academy graduates Cameron Dawson and Joe Wildsmith since moving to Hillsborough in July 2014.

"I have seen the two of them develop from 18-year-olds," said Westwood, Wednesday's first-choice shot-stopper. "I have been here for six years and I would like to think I have helped them along the way. I think that is my role.

"I am always trying to help people or give them advice.

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Owls star Keiren Westwood and Cameron Dawson

"I was talking to Cammy about a few things this morning (Thursday), which I will always do and they know that. They know what I think of them. I think they are both great.

"It is great for me as they are getting older and progressing. They have both progressed really well in the last six years and that pushes me on again. I am getting fitter and stronger and I am feeling the benefits of them.

"We all get on great. We were all flying around in training this week and it is great."

Wednesday's goalkeeping department is arguably one of the best in the Championship. Dawson and Wildsmith have performed well in the main when Westwood has missed out through injury or been frozen out of the first-team picture. Wildsmith's return to action following a lengthy spell on the sidelines has boosted their numbers.

Westwood, of course, was out-of-favour under Jos Luhukay last term, with Dawson preferred in between the sticks in the first half of the 2018/19 campaign. Dawson has largely played second fiddle to Westwood since last Christmas but has deputised for the Republic of Ireland on six occasions this season, recording three clean sheets.

"I think anyone that pulls on the shirt would obviously give 110 per cent as much as they can," said Westwood, who has clocked up over 470 club appearances in his career. "I am delighted he [Dawson] has played in the last couple of games and done really well.

"Under Jos, he sort of got exposed too much for me by decisions, managers and stuff like that but I am delighted he has been able to show his worth because he is a good goalkeeper.

"Both him and Joe [Wildsmith] are good goalkeepers. I have seen them progress.

"It is my job to help them progress. If I wasn't helping them, then I wouldn't be doing my job.

"Weaver [Nicky Weaver] did it for me at Manchester City.

"The goalkeepers' union is very different to outfield players. For me, there is not much bitterness between goalkeepers because we all know only one can play. We all know that if you are not number one then you are number two and you have a job to do.

"I have done that with Darren Randolph and Shay Given at Ireland. You have a certain role and duty to the person that is playing and also as the senior goalkeeper you have the duty to the younger lads to help them.

"It is not so much like maybe a striker coming on and scoring the winner and taking your place and then the striker might be unhappy. Goalkeepers aren't really like that. They are like 'what a great save the other night.'

"It is a bit close-knit because we are out on alone a lot. We are not with the outfielders until they want to play a game, do some shooting, crossing or whatever.

"We are in a box together so it is important we all get on and we all know our roles and what is required."