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Sheffield Wednesday: Ex-stopper Kirkland assesses 'keeper situation at Hillsborough

Former Owls' stopper Chris Kirkland
Former Owls' stopper Chris Kirkland
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Sheffield Wednesday possess arguably the strongest pool of goalkeepers in the Championship.

That’s the view of former Owls’ stopper Chris Kirkland, who says Jos Luhukay has a tough task picking just one of them next season.

Cameron Dawson.

Cameron Dawson.

Keiren Westwood, Joe Wildsmith and Cameron Dawson all played their part last term giving head coach Luhukay a major quandary ahead of next season.

Whilst Westwood is the most senior of the three stoppers, he hasn’t played since December due to injury.

Kirkland, who represented Wednesday for three years and made 85 appearances, believes Westwood will be feeling the pressure of having two talented players breathing down his neck.

“Wednesday are in really good nick with regards the goalkeeper situation, which is good to see,” Kirkland told the Star.

Keiren Westwood.

Keiren Westwood.

“Keiren has had his injury problems this year which has given Joe and Cameron their chance.

“If Keiren is still at the club next year I think he’ll probably start as number one.

“He’s a top ‘keeper.

“But the two young lads have done really well so it will be tough for Keiren to get back in.

Joe Wildsmith.

Joe Wildsmith.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen, whether he’s going to move.

“There’s rumours almost every year with him that clubs are after him - he’s a top ‘keeper so that’s no surprise.

“If he does stay he knows he is going to have to battle, have a good pre-seaon and try to impress the manager to get back in the team.”

Kirkland is well-placed to comment on the situation, having played with all three during his Hillsborough stay.

Now aged 37, the former Liverpool man was at Hillsborough when Wildsmith and Dawson were much younger but he says that even then there were clear signs the duo could make it at first-team level.

He also says camaraderie, despite the intense competition for a sole place, is crucial.

“Andy Rhodes has done a great job there and I know he thinks very highly of all three of them,” he added.

“They are all good lads.

“When you’re goalkeepers you work together a lot and have to get on well.

“We all pushed each other when I was there.

“They were all good for me and kept me on my toes being a lot younger than I was.

“I’d like to think I was good for them too, with the experience that I brought.

“The first two years I was there I was in the team but I knew I had to be pushed and lads did that.”

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