This article is part of Football League World’s ‘What does the future hold?’ series, this content strand is where we evaluate and subjectively debate a player’s future at their current club…
With only 14 appearances under his belt so far this term, could this season prove to be Keiren Westwood’s last at Hillsborough despite having a year left on his contract?
Keiren Westwood had pretty much been a mainstay between the sticks for Sheffield Wednesday since his arrival from Sunderland back in 2014, making 179 appearances for the Owls.
Westwood featured 37 times for the Owls over the 2015-2016 season where the club reached the Championship play-off final, and appeared 45 times as the club reached the play-offs again the following season, only to lose out at the semi-final stage.
Despite being a regular feature for the Owls for nearly five years, Westwood has struggled to make an impression under Garry Monk since the 41-year-old took charge at Hillsborough in September.
Westwood started nine of Monk’s first 11 games in charge of Wednesday but since playing in the 2-1 defeat to West Bromwich Albion in November hasn’t featured in a single game for the Yorkshire side.
Before the suspension of EFL fixtures on 13th March, some may have been forgiven in speculating whether Westwood would remain at Hillsborough come the end of the season, with the goalkeeper clearly out-of-favour under Garry Monk.
In an interview with BBC Radio Cumbria (quotes transcribed by Yorkshire Live) Westwood opened up on his future: “I’m contracted to Wednesday until next season so I don’t really know how that’s going to really play out.
“I think we’ve just got to play it by ear really,” added the former Coventry City stopper.
It is arguably hard to see a future for Westwood at Hillsborough, but despite being 35 he would still offer valuable experience for a number of Championship clubs.
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With Cameron Dawson currently Monk’s first choice and signing a new four-year contract back with the Owls in January, it wouldn’t be a surprise to many if Westwood was to look for options elsewhere once the season concludes.
Some Wednesday fans may have been forgiven for wondering why Westwood hasn’t played more of a part in the Owls’ campaign given the team’s woeful form from Boxing Day up until the postponement of the fixtures.
Monk’s side had shipped a whopping 29 goals in just 14 games, but despite this, the former Birmingham boss would still not give Westwood a run-out.
During his time at Wednesday, Westwood has kept 67 clean sheets, an average of one in less than every three games, and was named in the Championship Team of the Season for 2014-2015 season.
Although the 35-year-old has been a great servant for the Owls it is hard to see him winning a regular place at the club whilst Garry Monk remains as manager.
It won’t be surprising to see, if and when this season concludes, Westwood look for a new challenge away from Hillsborough to see out his final stages of his career.