Sam Ricketts today looked forward to the task of adding his quality and experience to Wolves’ new era, believing the club is primed and ready for an upturn in fortunes.
The 31-year-old has signed a two-year contract having had his Bolton contract cancelled and will work again under Head Coach Kenny Jackett, who gave him his first chance in league football by signing him for Swansea a decade ago.
And despite dropping down a division having made 35 appearances for Bolton last season, Ricketts is relishing a new challenge and hopefully playing a part in helping Wolves bounce back from successive relegations.
“I’m excited at what is a great opportunity,” he says.
“I know Kenny from working under him at Swansea and I know what a big club this is with huge support.
“Wayne (Hennessey) is here and Dave Edwards who are good lads who I have played alongside for Wales and I have also played against a lot of the other players so I know a bit about them too.
“Dropping down a division doesn’t put me off at all, because of the size of the club.
“Wolves are not a club looking to stay in League One – we are looking forward and looking upwards.
“It’s a big club, especially for League One, and was even one of the biggest in the Championship as well.
“So while the club is in League One now everyone is looking forward and seeing where we can go.”
Ricketts is clearly keen to once again work with Jackett, and believes the Head Coach has all the right attributes to bring success to Wolves.
“Kenny signed me from Telford and I had two great years at Swansea with him where we got promoted the first year and narrowly missed out the second,” he says.
“I know what he is all about and I trust him.
“First and foremost he is a nice guy which goes a long way nowadays.
“There aren’t all that many nice managers about and he earns respect from that.
“He is also a calm character who gets teams very well organised and has a proven track record.”
While Jackett’s aim is for a younger and fresher squad next season, he has also highlighted the need for experience.
Ricketts has made over 450 appearances at all levels of the game, including internationally with Wales, but at 31 still believes he has plenty more to offer.
“As you tend to get older in football people start to talk more about your experience,” he says.
“I still view myself as fairly young, I’ve kept myself in good shape and physically am probably in as good a shape as I have ever been.
“And I have been fortunate in my career and have only really had one major injury.
“I am looking to play for another five or six years and being a defender, as you get older you get smarter and wiser and can read the game well. Hopefully that can help keep me going!
“I started off in the Conference and went all the way through to the Premier League and international football with Wales as well.
“I have played in every league and played at more or less every ground in the country so there is nothing new for me.
“And having played in all the leagues if I can pass on some of that experience to the younger lads then great.
“I have played against some of the younger lads and heard good reports on others so it’s going to be exciting.”
Wolves fans who travelled to the Reebok Stadium on the final day of 2011 will have witnessed Bolton’s Goal of the Season, struck from some distance by Ricketts, on his first game after a long term injury.
“It’s always nice to put one past Wayne!” he said with a smile.
“He’s an international team-mate of course and being my first game back from injury it was nice to put one past him.”
Now though all focus is on what lies ahead as he gets stuck into life at Wolves.
“I just want to get on with things now, start working with the lads and preparing for the first game of the season,” he said.
“That is when the challenge starts to get this club back where it belongs.”
*WV1 Bar tickets are now on sale for Wolves’ only home friendly of the summer with Real Betis (27 July). For just £18 + VAT, you can enjoy the luxury of the WV1 facility along with reserved parking, welcome drink, programme and luxury seating. For £28 +VAT, a pre-match four item tapas menu is available consistent with the Spanish theme.
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