In an exclusive interview with Football FanCast, former Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Chris Kirkland has questioned the decision to exclude veteran Keiren Westwood from the squad this season.
The 36-year-old has not featured for the Owls in nearly a year with Garry Monk option to run with academy graduates Joe Wildsmith and Cameron Dawson instead, which is rather damning with the long-serving shot-stopper thought to be on around £30k-per-week at Hillsborough.
Westwood was not given a squad number for the 2020/21 season and has been left to train away from the first-team squad. He was also reportedly available for transfer during the summer but no approaches were made.
Kirkland, who worked with the experienced Owls man during his stint in south Yorkshire, is baffled by the situation and has called on Monk to bury the hatchet to save their season.
He told FFC:
“I think they’ve got an issue. I think you have to talk about the goalkeeper situation there.
“I have worked with both Joe [Wildsmith] and Cam [Dawson]. Keiren Westwood should be playing without a shadow of a doubt. He’s the best keeper there. He should still be playing in the Premier League but there’s obviously question marks. People talk about Keiren and his attitude and stuff like that, but he was always great with me. I had no issues with him there.
“Other managers have seen a problem there and that’s probably why Garry [Monk] isn’t playing him now because there is obviously an issue behind the scenes. You don’t keep somebody who is one of your top-earners and as good as he is on the bench unless there are big problems behind the scenes.
“With Keiren not playing, that’s a huge mystery. I think if they’re going to do anything this season, they’ve got to bury whatever has gone on. He’s got to get back playing – and now.”
Westwood has played 179 times for Sheffield Wednesday and appears unlikely to play for the club ever again whilst Monk is still in charge, especially with his contract up at the end of the current campaign.
The Owls have only conceded ten goals so far this term, which is fewer than league-leading Reading, Brentford, Blackburn Rovers and Bristol City.
It remains to be seen what the exact issue is between Monk and Westwood, but clearly, Kirkland believes the Owls would be a far stronger side with the Republic of Ireland glovesman between the sticks than either of their younger options.
AND in other news, Exclusive: Chris Kirkland tips Dejphon Chansiri to make a major call soon…