Liverpool goalkeeper Danny Ward says Huddersfield Town will always be close to his heart after the 24-year-old helped the Terriers get promoted to the Premier League, after 45 years away from the top flight.
Ward will always be considered a Town legend, and will forever be warmly remembered by all Town fans for his heroic saves in the play-off semi-final and the final at Wembley.
In the semi-finals against Sheffield Wednesday, the young stopper saved the first and fifth penalties from Sam Hutchinson and Owls favourite Fernando Forestieri to enable the Terriers to progress into the final to face Reading.
In the capital, hero Ward struck again as he saved Reading’s final penalty from Jordan Obita – after Liam Moore blazed over the bar. This allowed Huddersfield defender Christopher Schindler to take his chance from the spot to send the West Yorkshire side to the Premier League – and that is exactly what the German did.
Ward will always have a “special bond” with Huddersfield
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo on the promotion- winning season, Ward said: “It was a special time at Huddersfield. We went through such a lot – hard times as well as good times in that season.”
At the beginning of the 2016/17 season, Huddersfield were favourites to be relegated down to League One, but the Terriers defied all odds.
“A lot of people wrote us off, not just the players, the manager was questioned about his ack of experience, a lot of new signings, a lot of young loans,” Ward commented.
But the Yorkshire side relished and thrived from being the underdogs, and they used this status to continue proving people wrong, getting the results, and maintaining a play off spot in the table.
He said: “We formed a sort of siege mentality from that sort of criticism and that doubt. I think that’s ultimately what brought us together and carried us through.”
“There will always be a special bond for what we achieved – and over- achieved really,” the Welshman added.
Unfortunately for Ward he didn’t return to Town after his loan spell, and has now spent the entirety of the season as Liverpool’s third- choice keeper, with a mere one cup game to his name.
The 24-year-old returned to Huddersfield when the teams met in the League back in January, and on this he said: “It was strange going back to the John Smith’s Stadium and being in the opposition dug- out- even though I’m a Liverpool player and always was.”
“The club will always be close to my heart,” he added.