Sheffield Wednesday: ‘It meant a lot’ - Joe Wildsmith on THAT save against Sheffield United and why he is ‘just getting on with it’ as Owls number one

Joe Wildsmith
Joe Wildsmith
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In terms of individual moments, one particular save in the Steel City derby is going to take some beating for Joe Wildsmith.

Clayton Donaldson attempted a fine looping header to break the deadlock in the tense affair. Wildsmith looked beaten but leapt up acrobatically and tipped the ball over the bar for a spectacular stop.

It was a vital save for Wildsmith’s boyhood club, against their most bitter of rivals, in front of the Kop end at Bramall Lane. A special moment.

“That save meant a lot,” he told The Star.

“The whole atmosphere of it, being at Bramall Lane, at their Kop end, it made it a little bit special.

“But that’s what I’m there to do – make saves. I just get on with it after that.”

Just getting on with it has become the 22-year-old’s modus operandi since Keiren Westwood suffered a groin injury in December.

Wildsmith has started nine of Wednesday’s last 11 matches, only dropping out for the FA Cup with Cameron Dawson coming in.

And his form over the last few weeks has led plenty to doubt whether he will – or whether he should – step aside when Westwood eventually becomes available again.

On that, Wildsmith does not care to offer an opinion.

“That’s the gaffer’s choice,” he said. “I’m not going to go into who should be playing and who shouldn’t.

“It’s down to the gaffer at the end of the day and it’s his decision.”

With Westwood suffering a fresh injury setback, that decision is not one manager Jos Luhukay will have to face just yet.

But Wildsmith knows, given the strength in depth of the Owls’ goalkeeping ranks offered by Dawson also, that he must keep the standard of performances as high as it as been in recent weeks.

“Competition is always good,” he said. “It keeps you from complacency.

“You’ve always got that added pressure on your shoulders of needing to perform or you’re going to miss out.

“I think it’s good for all three of us to be together, pushing each other in training and in games just to get the best out of each other.”

For now, it is indeed about just getting on with it for Wildsmith, who is almost certain to start Saturday’s clash with Birmingham City.

And, as expected, he is taking his position as de facto number one for Wednesday all in his stride.

He said: “When it first started in mid-December, there was a couple of little mistakes.

“But as the games have gone I’ve felt my confidence has got better and just getting regular games helps me completely.

“It’s the most I’ve played simultaneously in my career so it’s been different for me.

“It’s improved me as a player to get regular games, week in, week out.

“It’s helped a lot.

“You try to save every shot and if you do save it, it’s great.

“If you don’t, you don’t.

“It’s part of being a goalkeeper, you put your effort into that every day in training, getting better and stuff like that.

“The hard work gets put in out there on the training ground.

“I’ve been lucky that it’s been shown on the pitch.

“It’s great to get the accolades for the saves but basically it’s what I put on myself anyway.

“That’s the pressure I put on myself so it’s great for them to come off.”