Young Owls shot-stopper Cameron Dawson reckons he could not have asked for a better mentor at Hillsborough than Chris Kirkland.
It is unlikely Dawson, Arron Jameson or Adam Davies will dislodge the former Liverpool and Wigan Athletic player in between the sticks anytime soon.
Kirkland was a revelation last season as Sheffield Wednesday stayed up and the giant goalkeeper is expected to start in their Championship curtain-raiser at Queens Park Rangers this Saturday.
“Chris is a real top-drawer goalkeeper and great to work with,” Dawson told The Star. “He is a great asset for me and the club. To pull knowledge out of him is great.
“Chris has played for England and Liverpool so he’s a really top goalkeeper.
“He made saves last year that I didn’t think were possible to make. He definitely earned the team a lot of points.
“Chris had a great season last year and hopefully he can have another successful year for us.”
Dawson, who is set to get a run-out in the development squad’s pre-season friendly at Buxton tonight, kick-off 7.30pm, is eager to carry on picking up tips from Kirkland and Owls goalkeeping coach Andy Rhodes.
The 18-year-old said: “It is great working with them. They’ve got so much knowledge, as had Stephen (Bywater) and Nicky (Weaver) who were here last year.
“They are top guys and know a lot so to pull things from them is really good. They just say little things about my technique. Chris is a big lad like myself so he always works on technique and little things that can help him out.
“Chris is very experienced and has played at the top level so I am always looking to learn.”
A lifelong Owls fan, Dawson recently indicated to this newspaper that he would be prepared to leave the club on loan to get first-team matches under his belt and further enhance his footballing education. The youngster, an England Under-19 international, recognises he has got his work cut out to oust Kirkland from the starting line-up.
“I’ve got masses to improve before I am the finished article,” Dawson conceded. “Distribution is a big part of the game so that’s important to work on that.
“My strengths are shot-stopping and coming for crosses. If you do the simple things well, then you will be successful.”