Sheffield Wednesday: Gray’s delight at ‘proper’ experience for Wildsmith

Joe Wildsmith
Joe Wildsmith

He may have failed to bring in any players on emergency loan deadline day but Stuart Gray was delighted with the one piece of business he managed to do.

Young Owls keeper Joe Wildsmith joined Barnsley on a youth loan on Thursday.

The England U20 international has yet to make a senior appearance at league football level but is likely to be thrown straight in the deep end with the Reds today.

Injuries to Ross Turnbull and former Owl Adam Davies means Wildsmith will be handed his debut against runaway League One leaders Bristol City.

“It’s great to get young Joe out there because he really needs games,” Gray said.

“There’s only so far that age group games can take you. You need that senior experience.

“Getting that for young players is always difficult and especially so for goalkeepers.

“He’s not going there to sit on the bench. Joe is going to be playing games and we can’t ask for more than that.”

Gray believes Wildsmith has enjoyed a valuable apprenticeship, working alongside Keiren Westwood and Chris Kirkland.

And he says the club should be proud of their group of goalkeepers.

He said: “I believe we have four very good goalkeepers at this club with Keiren, Chris, Joe and Cameron Dawson.

“We’ve got the fantastic experience and top quality in Keiren and Chris.

“And then there’s the young promise of Joe and Cameron who have both been noticed by the national coaches.

“It’s been great for the both of them to learn from Keiren and Chris.

“But you can’t beat the experience of being out on the pitch and waiting for the whistle at 3 o’clock on a Saturday afternoon.

“Joe will find that out over the next few weeks.”