Sam Ricketts today vowed to “lead by example” after being appointed as Wolves’ new captain as he aimed to give fans something to cheer again at Molineux next season.
The 31-year-old Welsh international believes he has an excellent grounding in football from having come through from non-league level when Wolves’ Head Coach Kenny Jackett first took him from Telford to Swansea.
And he is relishing the opportunity to be part of what will be a younger Wolves squad next season, hoping his versatility and experience will prove beneficial to the rest of the squad.
“From what I’ve seen, it’s a pretty young squad here, and there’s a good spirit in there already,” he said.
“I’m not coming in to change anything, I’ll just be myself.
“I’m not a shouter and a bawler – I think those days in football are long gone.
“As a captain I will just try to lead by example – I’ve always tried to do the right things.
“That has been shown as I’ve gone through the leagues because it would have been very easy at Telford not to do the right things and just stay around non-league.
“So from that side of it, and also I have been everywhere, so if anyone needs advice, hopefully I can do it.”
Ricketts continues: “I think non-league gives you a good grounding – I’m still friends with a lot of the lads I played with there, and not only there but at Nuneaton too, where I was on loan just before that.
“And when you go all the way through the leagues, you appreciate what it’s like at the top a little bit more, but you also understand the fans and you’re more in touch with them and football.
“I’ve been fortunate in that every club I’ve played for has had that connection with the fans.
“We need the fans as much as they need us, and we need to give them to support as well, so it has to work both ways – it can’t be a one-way street.”
Ricketts, who revealed how his Grandad used to persuade him to work on his left foot to ensure he was naturally two-footed, is also indebted to Jackett for handing him that first league chance at Swansea a decade ago.
“He signed me from non-league and taught me a lot – he started my career to be honest,” he added.
“Within six or seven months of him signing me, I made my Wales debut and as a manager he instils the organisational side of the game into his players, which I think is hugely important.
“You must have ability to go with it, but there’s no point having that if you don’t know what I’m doing or my team-mate next to me is doing.
“He teaches people the game, and that reflects on the team performance.
“You pick things up from every manager, but he was the first one at the time when I was a utility player who sat me down and got me playing full back.
“He taught that position and that’s where my career took off.”