A Tale of Two Goalkeepers: The healthy competition brewing at Sheffield Wednesday between Joe Wildsmith and Cameron Dawson
There’s only six months difference between Joe Wildsmith and Cameron Dawson. They came through the Sheffield Wednesday ranks together and made their senior debuts almost a year apart – now they’re battling it out against each other to be Garry Monk’s number one.
Dawson has played 24 Championship games for the Owls this season, while Wildsmith – who recently recovered from a long-term injury – made his seventh appearance in the 0-0 draw with Huddersfield Town over the weekend.
Monk says that he got Wildsmith back between the sticks after the restart in order to ‘see what he could do’, and he admits that’s he’s very pleased with both of the SWFC academy graduates and the way that they’ve equipped themselves.
Speaking to the media today, the Owls boss said, “I’ve said it with Cam and Joey… I’m excited to be working with those two, I think they’re both young and the type of profile we’re looking for. Hungry, and with a bit of experience. They’re not young, inexperienced goalkeepers. There’s definitely improvement in them both, but they’re at the same sort of level.
“With Cam coming in the first place in some real difficult circumstances, he came in and did very well.
“They key is to see what they both can do. I know what Cam can do, and I rate them both very highly, but I needed to see what Joey can do. He played against Man City but up until then he hadn’t played. So I wanted to use this period to see what he could do as well - he’s done fantastic.”
The paid have known each other a long time – Wildsmith spoke recently of the relationship that they have – and Monk thinks that bodes well for the future of the Wednesday goalkeeping department
“The best thing about it is that the two of them can have a real healthy competition going forward, and that’s something that I think the club needs. Not just in goal, but everywhere.
“What I like about them is they have the attitude to improve, that’s the key. They’ve got a good mentality towards it, they work hard, they push each other… They will have ups and downs, but their ages, where they’re at, the types of lads they are and the quality they possess, I think it’s going to be an interesting competition.
“They push each other, they’re friends as well, and they want to better each other… It’s a healthy situation to be in for the club.”
It certainly seems to be the end of the road for Kieren Westwood at S6 (he last played back in November), but Monk seems pleased with what he’s got at his disposal as the average age of the Owls squad continues to drop following the latest round of exits from the club earlier this month.