Ok, before you send your tweets and messages in calling me insane, just read the article please? This will make sense in the end.
Right, so some background first. Yesterday, Sheffield Wednesday signed Paul Jones on a free transfer. He’s a 33-year-old goalkeeper who’s played for the likes of Exeter City, Portsmouth and Crawley Town. Most recently he was at Fleetwood Town where he made the grand total of 0 appearances. So on the surface, it was an odd signing. But there is an explanation. With Joe Wildsmith injured, the club wanted an experienced keeper to play third fiddle to Keiren Westwood and Cameron Dawson. He’ll likely be on the bench for Saturday’s match against Barnsley due to Westwood’s suspension.
But now onto my ridiculous claim that the signing of Jones is going to secure the goalkeeping position for the next decade. Just so you know I’ve not gone completely off the rails, I’m not saying that Jones himself is going to do that. I am saying that his signing can facilitate that.
Wednesday are lucky enough to have two young talented goalkeepers in Cameron Dawson and Joe Wildsmith. Dawson was trusted to be the new number one last season when Westwood was being frozen out of the first team and I think he did well in tough circumstances. The defence in front of him was more porous than a broken colander and the crowd did get on his back because he wasn’t Westwood but despite all of that, he was able to make many impressive saves and keep some scorelines get too bad. Wildsmith has also been good when given the chance.
The problem is that they aren’t going to get the first team action to improve because Westwood is going to cling to that number one’s spot for another year at least. They need more experience in actual matches rather than U23 matches. The problems in Dawson’s game was due to his youth, his distribution and ability to compete in busy boxes would improve the more he plays. The same applies for Wildsmith.
Dawson and Wildsmith had been kept around because they were very good back-ups but there’s only so much you can learn watching from the bench and they should be loaned out. This is where the signing of Paul Jones makes sense. Because Wednesday have an experienced goalkeeper on the benches who can step in if needed, both Wildsmith and Dawson could be loaned out to a League 1 or 2 club to get them more experience. At the very least, one of them could be!
This would get these keepers a lot more experience which would improve them as players. Then when Westwood either decides to leave or his ability starts to decline as age tends to do to players, one of Dawson or Wildsmith will be able to step up and be our number one for the next decade. All thanks to the signing of Paul Jones.