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Wolves keeper Matija Sarkic urged to push Jose Sa all the way

Bruno Lage has challenged Matija Sarkic to push first choice goalkeeper Jose Sa all the way to earn a spot in the Wolves team.

Matija Sarkic of Wolverhampton Wanderers in action during a Wolverhampton Wanderers Training Session at The Sir Jack Hayward Training Ground on August 05, 2022 in Wolverhampton, England. (Photo by Jack Thomas - WWFC/Wolves via Getty Images).
Matija Sarkic of Wolverhampton Wanderers in action during a Wolverhampton Wanderers Training Session at The Sir Jack Hayward Training Ground on August 05, 2022 in Wolverhampton, England. (Photo by Jack Thomas - WWFC/Wolves via Getty Images).

The 25-year-old signed for Wolves in 2020 after being released by Villa and has since enjoyed two impressive loan spells.

Sarkic had a stellar first half of last season at Birmingham before injury ended his campaign, but this summer he returned to Wolves and was handed a new three-year deal and a place in the first-team squad as he took over from John Ruddy, who was released.

Now, Lage has challenged Sarkic to embrace the role that Ruddy had at Wolves and pour the pressure on Sa – as well as staking his own claim to play ahead of the Portuguese shot stopper.

“John was important for me and the club. He was a great voice in the dressing room,” Lage said.

“Jose Sa was at that level in his first Premier League season because of the competition that John brought to the team.

“Sarkic needs to do the same. When you are young you need to have goals in front of you.

“There’s a period when you have space outside of the team to play and improve, like he did last season.

“When we think he can come (to the team), he needs to understand the first goal is to work hard every day to improve his qualities and understand which qualities to work to be better every day. The good thing that we can say about the environment we have, is that he can learn because Jose is a great professional.”

Sarkic also has a chance to work with Wolves’ goalkeeping coach Tony Roberts.

Lage is always full of praise for the Welshman and believes Sarkic can benefit from working alongside him this season.

“Also, I’ve said this often, but he has a big opportunity to work with one of the best goalkeeper coaches in the world. Tony Roberts is one of the best. Watch the way he works and prepares his training. The philosophy he has and the path he has for young goalkeepers to arrive in the Premier League.

“That’s why I invited him when I worked with him for just five months at Swansea. When you look back at the goalkeepers he worked with and the rank of those goalkeepers.

“Sarkic has everything in his hands, with the right mentality, he can improve a lot and one day he can play in the Premier League. That’s his goal.”

Sarkic also has big ambitions to be the first Montenegrin goalkeeper to play in the Premier League.

He currently has five caps for the senior team, since making his debut in November 2019.

Sarkic was called up to the squad again for this international break but found himself an unused substitute in the Nations League games with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Finland – which yielded a 1-0 defeat and a 2-0 loss.

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