Goalkeeper coach Tony Roberts has left Wolves to take up a new coaching role at a European club.
The Welshman moved to Molineux in the summer of 2021 as part of Bruno Lage’s backroom team and remained at the club as Julen Lopetegui and his staff arrived last season.
Primarily coaching Jose Sa and the first-team goalkeepers, Roberts has also left a legacy at Compton Park for expanding the goalkeeper department throughout the club.
Last December, the 53-year-old was instrumental in bringing in a trio of goalkeeping coaches in Scott Bevan, Jon Flatt and Phil Smart to work with goalkeepers at all levels of the academy, creating a blueprint for each age group.
Sporting director Matt Hobbs said: “Tony will certainly be missed, but it’s an unbelievable opportunity that he has received so we’d never stand in his way. He’s been up front and honest about the contact has had, and it’s a great chance for him and he goes with our full support.
“Tony’s built the best goalkeeping department we’ve ever had at the club, in terms of the coaching available to the boys. We’ve done a lot of recruitment in the academy through Harry [Hooman] and his team. The best thing I can say about Tony is what he’s leaving behind and the work he’s put in should make this change relatively seamless. Of course, Julen is disappointed, but understands why Tony wants to take the opportunity.”
The first-team are currently training in Portugal where they will face FC Porto, before travelling to Dublin to take on Celtic, and under-21s goalkeeper coach Scott Bevan is working with Lopetegui and his staff to guide the goalkeepers on a temporary basis.
It’s a responsibility Bevan is familiar with, having worked with the first-team on multiple occasions last season, particularly during the World Cup period when Roberts was away with Wales, so he’s familiar with the workings of Lopetegui’s group.
Hobbs said: “Scott’s worked with Julen and the first-team before, so we’ll see if it feels right, while considering other options too. We’re staying open minded, it’s pre-season so we’ve got time to make the right decision – it’s a lot about the personality and how they fit in, because Tony was a big character. When there’s change, there’s always apprehension, but the beauty in having experienced goalkeepers is that transition is easier.
“We won’t allow it to go on for too long, because the new person needs to start working with the goalkeepers and staff. Scott will have an elongated time in Portugal and Dublin, and we’ll see where we are after that.
“Tony can walk away proud of what he’s leaving behind. It’s football, people leave, which provides opportunities for others. We’re excited to see what the next step is for us, there’s good people in the building and interesting candidates on the outside, who have expressed an interest, so we’ll make sure we make the right decision.”