Nuno can relate to ‘amazing’ Wolves keeper John Ruddy
Nuno Espirito Santo has heaped praise on Wolves’ second-choice keeper John Ruddy for his ‘amazing’ efforts in a difficult situation.
It is a situation Nuno can empathise with as well, writes Joe Edwards.
The old gold chief was a shot-stopper in his playing days, and a good portion of his career was as a back-up option, especially at Porto where he won the Champions League in 2004.
And as Wolves aim to fulfil the grand ambitions of owners Fosun, Ruddy – a dependable figure in last season’s Championship triumph – has found himself in the same boat. But he was called upon on Monday night, and he delivered the goods.
With Wolves 2-1 up against Liverpool at Molineux and on their way to a memorable FA Cup third-round triumph, 32-year-old Ruddy had to produce a stunning save.
Xherdan Shaqiri’s free-kick dipped and swerved towards the top corner, but Ruddy’s fingertips diverted the ball on to the post – and sent Wolves through to the next phase of the competition.
When asked about the top-drawer piece of goalkeeping after the game, Nuno had a big smile on his face – because he knows the mental prowess, and dedication to the cause, it takes to come in and shine at a crucial moment.
“It’s very tough to be in the situation that John is,” said Nuno.
“To be there, every day, in the high standards – the way he is in training – is amazing.”
Ruddy has been a popular figure among fans since his arrival on a free transfer from Norwich in the summer of 2017.
So much so, some supporters are suggesting he should replace Rui Patricio – the European Championship-winning glovesman Wolves worked so hard to sign from Sporting – for the next Premier League outing, at Manchester City on Monday.
It would be a shock to see Patricio make way, but Ruddy – a man who is said to play a huge role in the dressing room – reminded everyone he still has plenty to offer on the pitch.
“For John, it was a special moment to come back to Molineux,” added Nuno.
“What he made last season will stay in our memories forever. John is fantastic, and we are very proud of him. We are pleased and happy.”
Nuno will also have been pleased to hear Wolves’ Under-23s, while the first team beat Liverpool, won 4-2 against Albion.
Max Kilman, Niall Ennis, Pedro Goncalves and Oskar Buur Rasmussen got the goals for Rob Edwards’ side, who have done the double over the Baggies this season.