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Sunday 25 September 2016

'Ireland should look to Westwood'

Keiren Westwood
Keiren Westwood

Sheffield Wednesday boss Carlos Carvalhal has talked up the Euro 2016 ambitions of his Irish keeper Keiren Westwood and hailed the ex-Sunderland man as the best goalkeeper in the Championship.

Westwood's feat of four successive away clean sheets is an all-time club record and Westwood's form received external recognition when he was named as the top keeper in the division last month.

The 31-year-old is out of favour at international level and didn't even make the 40-man squad for last month's friendly internationals.

With Rob Elliot out for the season due to injury, Darren Randolph, Shay Given and David Forde on the bench at their clubs, and with Stephen Henderson only recently back in the Charlton squad following injury, Westwood is the only Ireland international keeper getting game time.

Owls manager Carlos Carvalhal has stopped short of telling Martin O'Neill to select Westwood but, as Wednesday prepare to face Blackburn tonight, he has spoken up for the Ireland exile.

"I can't talk about the options of another coach because if I do this, I am shooting against my goal because I don't like other coaches talking about my options," says Carvalhal.

"What I can say about Keiren is what I said before: we are very happy with Keiren. He is doing fantastic here, he is a goalkeeper who was the best in the Championship, and he is still the best 'keeper in the competition.

"He had a period where he had some problems. After his last physical problem, he has been fantastic. He came back very strong. He is playing fantastically after the injury, he is strong and in his best shape of the season.

"After this, it is the problem of the other coach (O'Neill). He understands his goalkeepers. But that doesn't mean that Keiren can't be involved in the future. It is not my job to comment on."

With recent form, Wednesday have moved from mid-table into the play-offs.

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