Sheffield Wednesday: Hard work pays off for Owls kid

Young Owls goalkeeper Joe Wildsmith
Young Owls goalkeeper Joe Wildsmith

Rising star Joe Wildsmith has spoken of the sacrifices he has made to become a professional footballer at his boyhood club.

The precociously talented goalkeeper, who has come through the ranks at Wednesday, is pushing for a third successive Championship start this weekend. Wildsmith impressed in Tuesday’s draw at Bolton Wanderers, chalking up his maiden clean sheet.

“I got a chance when I was 12 to come down for a trial with Wednesday,” said the youngster. “I never thought really that this day would actually come where I am playing for them. As the years went on, I put the hours in to come down to training on Tuesday and Thursday nights and then playing on Saturday and Sunday’s. I didn’t go out with my mates because I had a game or training.

“It has definitely been worthwhile and paid off in the end. If you put the work in, you can definitely make it. I have worked as hard as I can over the last couple of years and got my chance and it’s a privilege to play for the club.”

Wildsmith has thanked his parents for their backing.

“My mum and dad have been brilliant,” he said. “If I have had a bad game, they will know about it and won’t bring anything up.

“If I have a good game, they always praise me. They come to every game and watch me. They don’t really like sitting in the stand and watching and listening to fans. My dad finds it hard keeping his mouth shut!”

A side strain injury to Republic of Ireland international Keiren Westwood handed lifelong Wednesdayite Wildsmith an opportunity to shine and the 19-year-old has enhanced his burgeoning reputation with two accomplished displays.

Wildsmith stressed: “I want to give everything I’ve got for the club. I want the club to win. Everybody wants the club to win but I think I’ve got an extra incentive because I support the club.”

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