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Darren Ward

Darren Ward
Norwich Career: 2004- 2006 (3 appearances)
Current Club: England Women National Team (Goalkeeper Coach)
Date of Birth: 11/05/1974 (Worksop) 
Nationality: Welsh


Welsh international goalkeeper Darren Ward signed for Norwich on August 6th 2004 to act as cover for Robert Green and Paul Gallacher. Formerly with Mansfield and Notts County, Darren was Nottingham Forest's first choice keeper for much of 2003/4 until injury in February ruled him out of the remainder of the campaign. Forest's signing of Everton's Paul Gerrard allowed the Canaries to swoop for the five-times-capped Ward for a fee of £250,000

Norwich announced at the beginning of April 2006 that they would not be offering Ward a new contract when his expired in the summer of 2006. He made three appearances for the Canaries, the first as substitute for the injured Green at Charlton on 13th November 2004 and the final one being as substitute in the FA Cup Third Round defeat to West Ham during which he was suffering from a back injury which saw him ruled out for the remainder of the 2005/6 season. His only start was against Northampton in the Carling Cup in September 2005.

Darren joined Barnsley on trial in July 2006, following their sale of Scott Flinders to Crystal Palace. He then joined Sheffield United on trial, sitting on the bench as the Blades road out a convincing 3-0 win over Inverness Caledonian Thistle on their Scottish tour. On 30th July 2006, he was linked with another Yorkshire club with media speculation linking him with Leeds United. He joined them on trial and was expected to sign as cover for the injured Neil Sullivan. Leeds then opted for the loan signing of Fulham's Tony Warner on 4th August 2006 and on the same day, Darren signed a one year contract with Sunderland.

Ward's performances for the Black Cats saw him recalled to the Welsh squad in November 2006

Ward remained with Sunderland after their promotion to the Premiership even thoiugh they spent £9million on Scottish international Craig Gordon. Following a run of heavy defeats for Sunderland, Gordon was dropped In December 2007 and Ward made his Premiership debut with Sunderland, keeping a clean sheet as his side won 1-0 over Derby. Gordon reclaimed his place after three games. During the January 2008 transfer window, Ward rejected a move to Scottish giants Rangers, preffering to stay and fight to be the first-choice keeper at The Stadium of Light.

In March 2009, Darren joined Wolves on loan for the remainder of the 2008/9 season. He will provide back-up to Wayne Hennessey and Shane Higgs following injuries to Matt Murray and Carl Ikeme

Darren was released by Sunderland at the end of the 2008/9 season and announced his retirement at the end of May 2009 at the age of 35. He indicated that he wanted to go into coaching. Having a series of banck injuries since a freak fall in the autumn of 2008, Ward said "It was a difficult decision but I think it's the right one. But I know that if I continue playing, I could do myself long-term damage. I've got a lovely family back home and my kids want daddy to be able to play football with them in the garden." Ward already has a level 2 coaching qualification and is looking to get his UEFA 'B' licence in the summer of 2009

Darren joined Peterborough as goalkeeping coach on 13th October 2009 replacing Andy Dibble who had joined Rotherham. Darren followed former Posh manager Darren Ferguson to Preston in January 2010. He moved to Sheffield United as Academy goalkeeping coach in the summer of 2012.

In 2019, England goalkeeper Dean Henderson, who was on loan at the club from Manchester United, paid tribute to the coach. “Wardy has been outstanding,” he said, "the best goalkeeping coach I've ever worked with. He's brought me on leaps and bounds in every aspect of the game - mentally, physically, tactically - and the sessions are brilliant. I look forward to coming into work every day, and long may that continue. If I could work with Wardy for the next couple of years, I really think I can elevate to one of the best goalkeepers in the world"

Ward left Sheffield United at the end of March 2021 following the departure of Chris Wilder as manager. First-team coach and Head of Sport Science Matt Prestridge and performance analyst Mike Allen also left the club.

In September 2021 he was appointed goalkeeping coach for the England Women national team. The Lionesses won the European Women's Football Championships on 31 July 2022 beating Germany 2-1 in the final at Wembley. They have also qualified for the World Cup in July 2023.

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