Carl Ikeme happy to see Jose Sa take no.1 jersey at Wolves

Wolves favourite Carl Ikeme insists the time is right for new goalkeeper Jose Sa to take the number one jersey.

Jose Sa of Wolverhampton Wanderers (Wolves/Getty)
Jose Sa of Wolverhampton Wanderers (Wolves/Getty)

No shot-stopper has worn the number since 2018 when Ikeme retired from the game following his leukaemia diagnosis the year before.

Rui Patricio had the opportunity to take it but he, alongside fellow goalkeeper John Ruddy, decided not to wear it out of respect for Ikeme.

Now that Patricio has departed and Sa has replaced him, Wolves got Ikeme’s blessing before handing the new man the number one jersey.

And Ikeme, who has always wanted Patricio to take it, believes the timing was perfect to bring the number back.

“I have massive respect for John and Rui for not taking it and their reason behind it was extremely touching,” he told the Express & Star.

“But the number one shirt is a symbol. I’ve been the number one goalkeeper and I remember first getting it and how much it meant to me. I’ve been quite enthusiastic about someone taking it and now Sa is taking it I’m delighted. The club knew how I felt anyway but I did speak to someone at the club who messaged me to make sure I was comfortable with it.

“I was more than happy for someone to take it. It’s an important number. The number one shirt is an important one for me and goalkeepers in general, so that’s why it’s important that someone takes it.

“It was really nice what (Patricio and Ruddy) did and their feelings towards me, but the timing is right with the new goalkeeper coming in.

“It’s something that he can look forward to without feeling any sort of way towards it as well.

“There’s enough that goes on in the mind of a goalkeeper, than them worrying about number shirt they’re wearing as well.

“It’s good that he’s coming in, a clean start for him. Rui has been great for the last few seasons but I’m looking forward to what Sa can do. I’m sure he’ll be a great signing.

“It’s a fresh start and I wish him all the luck in the world in joining us.”

Meanwhile, Ruddy also believes the time is right to bring it back, but insists he will challenge Sa for a place in the starting XI regardless of what number is on his back.

“I came in and Carl was still registered, so it was never going to be an option for me anyway,” Ruddy told the Express & Star.

“Even the following season it was never an option and was not something I ever thought about. Obviously Rui decided to take the number 11.

“With Carl giving his blessing I think it’s the right time that the shirt is back in play and Jose has got it.

“But at the end of the day it’s a number. If you’re making the starting XI then you can call yourself the number one.

“It’s a challenge and one I’m going to embrace.”

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