Sheffield Wednesday favourite Chris Turner has urged Bailey Peacock-Farrell to silence the Owls boo-boys and prove he has the mental toughness to go with his ambitions.
The 24-year-old, on a year’s loan from Burnley, has been outstanding for Northern Ireland, but after an impressive start to his spell at the League One club has come under pressure for a number of high-profile errors.
While the former Leeds man was away on international duty last week, his replacement Joe Wildsmith put in an assured performance in keeping a clean sheet against Bolton.
Turner, who played over 200 games for the Owls over two spells and later returned to manage the club, told Sunday Life Sport: “When young goalkeepers, like Bailey, are stuck behind internationals at Premier League clubs, then they only get a few opportunities.
“When they go out on loan there is bound to be difficult moments because they lack the experience. So many times I have seen loan keepers faultless for two, three, four games then there is a dip in consistency.
“It is a learning curve and I say to Bailey that he just has to get to the other side. It is a lonely job.”
While Owls boss Darren Moore has publicly stated that he “100%” backs Peacock-Farrell and described him as a “pillar of strength”, fans are increasingly divided over who should be first choice.
Over the previous three seasons, Wildsmith, Keiren Westwood and Cameron Dawson have all vied for the No.1 jersey with none of them able to lay a permanent claim to it.
Turner added: “Wednesday have chopped and changed their goalkeeper a lot in recent seasons. It is not ideal.
“I know as a former goalkeeper that if I am at a club unsure who is No.1 then once I make a mistake I am thinking, ‘I’ll be dropped next week’. A goalkeeper has got to know he is No.1 for a period of time unless his form is horrendous, and Bailey’s not been horrendous.
“Yes, there have been a couple of mistakes that have cost goals, and I’m not surprised he’s been criticised because it goes with the territory.
“Wednesday fans would have watched his heroics with Northern Ireland and put him on a bit of a pedestal. When he returned from the previous international break fans were talking about how great he was doing. Suddenly, now some are saying, ‘He’s not that good’.
“Bailey is at a massive club and there is a lot of scrutiny. He made some brilliant saves in the win at Wigan, but that is all forgotten about in the next home game when he lets one in at his near post.
“One of my old coaches, Frank Burrows, told me that it is not about the mistakes you make, it is how you react to them.
“If I was still Wednesday manager, I would be telling Bailey that this is a learning curve and it can only make him a better keeper.
“This lad has ambitions to play in the Premier League and going to places like Old Trafford and Anfield with big crowds and being scrutinised by 10 cameras from every angle. So that means there will be more coming down the road and you have got to get yourself ready for it.
“If you get riled by a couple of mistakes you ain’t going to survive in the Premier League, that is for sure. When David de Gea went to Manchester United many didn’t rate him at first but he became the best goalkeeper in the world. Then he went down the other side, and now he is back up.
“Goalkeepers are the first to get criticised if they make a mistake and first to get praised if they do a worldy. You enjoy the great days and endure the bad ones.
“For Bailey it is about the bigger picture of going back to Burnley a better keeper and he cannot be distracted by ups and downs along the way.”