Sheffield Wednesday: Westwood simply the best, says May

Goal hero Stevie May hailed Sheffield Wednesday teammate Keiren Westwood after their victory over Reading, claiming he is the best goalkeeper he has worked with in his fledgling career.

May’s deflected free kick secured the Owls’ first home win of the campaign and moved Stuart Gray’s troops up to sixth in the Championship. But Westwood played a big part in Wednesday recording a seventh clean sheet in 10 matches as the Republic of Ireland international kept out Glenn Murray’s first-half penalty.

Owls penalty save hero Keiren Westwood

Owls penalty save hero Keiren Westwood

May told The Star: “Westy made a couple of good saves and that can’t be underestimated. He’s a top class goalkeeper.

“He’s as good a goalkeeper as I’ve come across. We see it in training every day the saves that he pulls off. You can tell he’s played at the highest level.

“He had a great game. That’s a bonus and hopefully we can see a few more games from him like that in the weeks to come.”

Although he was delighted to get on the score-sheet, May praised Wednesday’s defence for stifling Reading’s attacking threat.

GOAL...Owls goalscorer Stevie May celebrates the game's only goal

GOAL...Owls goalscorer Stevie May celebrates the game's only goal

The three-goal forward said: “We’ve got a great foundation with the back four and the goalkeeper. We look solid. You can see it every week that we don’t look like conceding goals.

“When they get past the back four, Westy seems to save it! That’s the foundation you need if you are going to have a successful season and thankfully we’ve got that. That’s half the battle and it gives us that attacking freedom. We know we’ve got a base who are going to keep clean sheets.”

Wednesday have lost just one of their opening 10 fixtures and May reckons they can maintain their fine start when they travel to Premier League heavyweights Manchester City in the third round of the Capital One Cup on Wednesday.

“We are not going there thinking we’ve been beaten already. We’ve got a chance if we work hard and everybody sticks to their jobs,” he said.

Owls keeper Keiren Westwood makes a point blank save from Reading's Jake Taylor

Owls keeper Keiren Westwood makes a point blank save from Reading's Jake Taylor

“Everyone is going to be desperate to play so it’s one to look forward to.

“We know it will be tough but there is no reason why we can’t cause an upset. We’ve seen cup shocks in the past and hopefully there is another one on Wednesday night.”

Gray, who is still on the look-out for a new striker to increase competition for places at Hillsborough, can’t wait for the tie.

“I will only enjoy it if we get a good result,” he said. “I’m sure they will make 11 changes and that team will be worth around £300m and be full of internationals.

“But I’m really looking forward to my players pitting their wits against top, top players. That’s our aim. It’s a great game for us. You never know with the underdog.”

When pressed on how he has managed to keep the team focused on their league programme despite the excitement of the cup draw, Gray said: “I’ve told the players ‘if you don’t play well, you are out of the team’. It’s as simple as that.

“I would love to be picking the same team, week in, week out but it’s about a squad of players. If you are picking the same team every week, you are obviously doing something right. At the moment, the players who have got the shirts keep a hold of the shirt.”