Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Keeper Keiren Was Almost Policeman

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Keeper Keiren Was Almost Policeman

Article excerpt

KEIREN Westwood has arrived in the Premier League by the road less travelled, writes MARK DOUGLAS. Not for the bubbly 26-year-old the gilded life of the pampered Academy graduate destined for stardom.

Instead, Sunderland's new international goalkeeper was on the brink of quitting the game and joining the police force before Paul Simpson threw him a professional lifeline at Carlisle United. Staring down at the smattering of journalists at his unveiling as a Black Cat, he admits it is a barely believable story.

But after being passed over by Colin Todd's Bradford City and then Accrington Stanley following his deserved - his words, not ours - release from Manchester City, he had reached the end of the line.

Taking up the story, he says: "I was passed from pillar to post, had a trial here and there, promises of contracts which were not going to happen and in the end I was going to join the police force.

"I was filling out forms for the police at my mum's house when I got the call to go to Carlisle, so it's funny how things turn out. The application form is a big thick dossier. You have to fill out everything like whether you have tattoos.

"And I was just at the bit answering how you would deal with a domestic disturbance, which obviously I know all about, when the call came. It takes a few days and I kept going back to it and luckily I got a phonecall asking if I could get myself up to Carlisle.

"I got up there in the gold Punto very, very quickly.

"I trained that day with the lads and I have never trained so badly. In the shooting session, the shots were hitting the net, and then I was diving. I was nearly in tears at the end of the session.

"I just sat on the ground, head in hands, saying 'what a day, what a summer'.

"Dennis Booth was Paul Simpson's assistant, a brilliant bloke, and he said 'you all right son? …

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