Westwood: I won't be bullied
Westwood gives his side of the story Coventry City's Kieren Westwood, who has found himself at the centre of controversy because of his refusal to sign a new contract with the Sky Blues, has spoken for the first time about why he won't sign. The 25 year old Irish international goal keeper has been consistently linked with moves to other clubs throughout the summer, but nothing came of any of them apart from one bid from Scottish club Glasgow Celtic which was described as derisory by Coventry. Westwood had asked Coventry last year about negotiating a contract extension, but the club left it until a few months ago to start talking to Westwood and his representatives and this has apparently annoyed Westwood. Since his refusal to agree to sign the contract, he has been relegated to the bench and on loan Everton 'keeper Iain Turner has taken his place. Westwood, who is with the republic of Ireland squad preparing for their Group B Euro 2012 qualifying games against Andorra and Armenia, has had personal issues to cope with. He became a father to Caitlin last week and missed the second game of the season at Watford because of a family bereavement.While he is with Ireland he spoke about the controversy surrounding his contract. Speaking to the Daily Mail, he said, "Six months ago I would have signed a new deal, 12 months ago I was asking for a new deal, and the year before that they promised me a new deal but nothing ever materialised and I don't know why. I want to see how things go but I am being slaughtered in the papers for it like it is my fault. I am being made to look the bad guy which is unfair." 'I was offered a new contract four weeks ago. The manager asked me if I was going to sign and I said no and that is it. I have not asked to leave, I just said I don't want to sign the contract. I love it at the club and that has not changed. I am still committed. The manager asked for an answer, he wanted me to be straight up and honest, which I have been." 'Next thing I know, I am out of the team, and find myself being attacked in the press. I didn't want to get embroiled in this kind of political issue. I have not done one interview all summer, but have kept my mouth shut and wanted to let my performances do the talking." 'I just want to play football but now I am being slated in the papers everyday and I have been dropped for no reason. And enough is enough. I always train hard and work hard and give my best in games. I really don't know what is going to happen. Bullying me is not going to work." Coventry City manager Aidy Boothroyd, who has both criticised and praised Westwood for his performance is as frustrated as Westwood over the affair and some of his comments have annoyed Westwood. Boothroyd accused Westwood of inconsistency after the home win over Derby, saying, "'We’ve got two very good goalkeepers, one who’s proved himself to be the best in the division but last week he nearly cost us the game then he won us the game, and I don’t want to work with that inconsistency." 'We’ve got a situation where I want him to sign, his representatives want him to sign, the club and everybody in Coventry wants him to sign but he’s not quite sure yet but he’s not ready, nobody’s come in for him and therefore I’ve got to go with what I think is consistent and settled." 'I want Keiren to play in the Premiership with us but, as good as he is, I’ve got a decision to make before the next game. I have to have a chat with him and find out it he’s part of the future here or not. If he isn’t, we’ll have to deal with it." Westwood interpreted these comments as a slur on his character saying, "It is a slur on my character.I want to do well for the club but I am not being allowed to do that. I will always be available for selection and I will always perform to my best." "The manager has said I am the best keeper outside the Premier League and yet he doesn't want to play me. Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you I am not a bad lad and I train hard everyday. This hurts me because I just want to play. I am not arrogant. Since I was released by City I have worked hard every day, I have played in the conference and I know what it is like to be on £150 a week, so I am not a big-time Charlie." "I am not going to change because I am out of contract. I know I have to work hard to get where I want to be and that has always driven me and always will or I know I will get nowhere." With his refusal to sign the new contract, he is now more likely to be leaving Coventry City, probably in the January transfer window. City chairman Ray Ranson said earlier this year that whatever happened Westwood would not be leaving the club for nothing, but with no serious offers coming in for the player during the summer and with all of the club who have been linked with him finding alternative goal keepers, he is unlikely to be offered the chance to play regular football, therefore putting his international chances in jeopardy.
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