Crewe Alexandra captain Ashley Westwood is honing in on his 100th appearance for the club. This should come against Macclesfield Town a week on Saturday.
The central midfielder completed his Apprenticeship at Gresty Road in the summer of 2008 before making his first-team debut under former manager Gudjon Thordarson.
Still only 21 years-old, Westwood has been given the captain’s armband and has proven himself to be a consistent performer in Dario Gradi’s side.
Since 2008 Westwood has operated in a number of roles for the club including both full back positions, right across midfield and as a deep lying forward.
The Crewe-born starlet however clearly prefers to play from his favoured central midfield berth:
“I have played in various positions during my time at Crewe and I don’t mind where I play as long as I am involved. The manager knows I can play different positions and my versatility is a positive really, rather than a negative,” Westwood told Alex’s matchday magazine.
“I think my best position is centre midfield but if the manager wants me to play full back or on the right of midfield then I am more than happy to.”
Crewe has a reputation for nurturing it’s talented youth players into first-team footballers and Westwood provides further evidence to this as he joins Shaun Miller, Byron Moore, Lee Bell and Luke Murphy, who have all reached the century landmark.
Gradi showed off his club’s youth policy most recently against Southend United last weekend when his starting line-up boasted an average age of just 21 years-old.
Westwood is well aware of the opportunities that present themselves to Crewe’s young players. “We have had to grow up quickly because if the manager thinks you are ready then you play,” he said.
“It is then up to you to take that chance and hold onto your place”.
Since making his debut in the 2008/09 season in League One, Westwood has scored 12 goals and he is striving to improve his tally.
“I got six goals last season and six the season before and I want to push on and score more than that.”
“It would give the team something to really build on if us midfield players can chip in with a few more goals.”
Crewe Alexandra travel to AFC Wimbledon for a 3pm kick-off on Saturday.