Keeper Aaron McCarey is hoping to use his Republic of Ireland summer boost to push Carl Ikeme and Wayne Hennessey hard for the starting berth at Wolves next season.
The 21-year-old followed up an appearance for the Republic of Ireland Under-21s in a friendly with Denmark by landing a place in the full squad for a trip to New York and friendly with Spain.
And while he didn’t manage to get on the pitch to make a senior debut, he took plenty from the experience of working with what was a first choice Irish squad ahead of returning with Wolves for pre-season.
“It was a great summer,” says McCarey.
“I thought going away with the 21s to play Denmark in a friendly was a nice end to the season.
“But then I got back from there and had the shock call-up for the senior squad which I wasn’t expecting at all.
“We went out to New York for five days which was a great learning curve for me and a great experience, something I will remember for a long time.
“It was a full strength squad Ireland had out and the players ran Spain very close in the game and were unlucky not to get a draw.
“Working with that quality of player was a really good experience and gave me a confidence boost ahead of coming back to Wolves for the new season.
“When you work with different keepers you can always pick up different things and you take all those bits together and try and put it into your own game and make progress.”
Goalkeepers may sometimes do their own fitness work during pre-season specific to their position, but also join in with the outfield players on many of the different runs and exercises designed to push the squad into peak condition.
That work continues this week, with today the first full day of the squad’s pre-season training camp in Scotland.
“It has been a tough couple of weeks back and definitely the toughest pre-season I have been involved in,” McCarey explains.
“But it’s been very enjoyable as well.
“We are all getting our hard work in, but also a lot of football, and there is a good mix and match.
“Everyone is looking very fit and looking forward to starting the season.
“We have been all together with the early starts in the morning and the running and then the keepers work together for a bit on the football before joining in with the outfield players when needed.
“Then we had the gym in the afternoons.
“They were long days but it’s what was needed and now we will carry it on in Scotland this week.
“We also start the matches and once that happens you know the season is only just around the corner.”
And despite the departure of Dorus De Vries to Nottingham Forest, there remains plenty of competition for places between the Wolves nets.
McCarey already boasts plenty of experience at League One level following a loan spell at Walsall last season, while his more senior counterparts Hennessey and Ikeme have shown their own quality in recent seasons.
“Dorus has left now and we all wish him well at Nottingham Forest,” said McCarey.
“Everyone here is fighting hard for the position.
“All of the goalkeepers here know each other very well and respect each other and Wayne and Carl are top players.
“Whoever is training well and producing in the games will get the chance and will have to take it by the scruff of the neck.
“The gaffer is going to be watching everyone very closely over the next few weeks and when you get a chance in pre-season training or games you just have to take it.
“It is very good and healthy competition and I am not sure there are many clubs even at a higher level that have the quality of goalkeepers that Wolves have had.
“It can only help as we are all pushing each other every day in training to make each other better.
“That’s the beauty of goalkeeping – everyone sticks in it together as the GK union!
“In my case, I’m working as hard as I can and would love an opportunity at Wolves.
“I have been here a long time and hopefully will get an opportunity and if I do, I have to take it with both hands and do enough to make an impression with the manager.
“Last year was really good experience at Walsall and so if I am called upon this season I feel I have got that in the locker.
“There wouldn’t be any nervousness on my part and I would be confident I could do the job.
“I know what the league is about – it is a tough league and there are some good players about.
“But hopefully it is going to be a successful one for us and we will be challenging at the right end of the table.”