Wayne Hennessey has had a stellar start to this year’s campaign and, as revealed by goalkeeping coach Dean Kiely, is aiming for even greater success going forward.
Palace TV’s Chris Grierson spoke to Kiely this week to find out about life as a goalkeeper, how the Eagles shot-stopper is faring and just what happens behind the scenes and between the posts at Crystal Palace.
Commenting on the recent international break, Kiely believes that playing regularly for Wales is benefitting Hennessey and that the 31-year-old has his sights firmly set on future achievement.
“For Wayne, [international football] has just been fantastic for him. Because obviously he’s been in the setup, he’s got those caps and he’s worked really, really hard. I just sat having a cup of tea [with Hennessey] and he got onto the subject of himself and what he wants to achieve and how he wants to do it, and it wasn’t long into our conversation that he got onto caps and trying to break Neville Southall’s record for Wales. So he’s chasing these records.
“There’s no sentiment in international football, so nobody gives him the shirt because he’s a nice guy or great fella or this or the other. You’ve got to be performing at the top level to rack those games up so tremendous credit to him, he works really, really hard.”
Kiely, a former York City, West Bromwich Albion and Republic of Ireland ‘keeper, revealed how he played against Hennessey over 11 years ago and has sung his praises since he began coaching the Welshman.
“Wayne made his debut for Wolves when I was up the other end in a play-off game [keeping goal for West Brom]. I know Wayne from a long time ago. Goalkeepers always have an affinity so I knew Wayne a little bit,” he said.
“I’m drawn to like-minded people. I want just straight forward: let’s get the job done, let’s work extremely hard, let’s get muddy, let’s get sweaty, let’s do the work and then present ourselves to the manager to be selected on the weekend.
“The eye-catching things [about Hennessey] are going to be his distribution and this, that and the other. Me at six feet, two inches, I was a different goalkeeper altogether. But Wayne’s size and stature and presence means that coming and claiming crosses, getting down the line and making blocks and saves, he’s got all of those tools.
“I can only speak as I find and say that I’ve really, really enjoyed working with Wayne and Julian at the back end of last year. Vicente has come in and added to that group. It’s been really, really good; really, really positive.
“Obviously ending the season the way we did was excellent, everyone was on a high, everyone made a contribution. Wayne was in the team and I think he made a real positive contribution to the success of the team. The addition of Vicente [has brought] healthy competition.”
You can see what else Dean Kiely had to say below or, alternatively, watch on Palace TV on the club’s official app.