John Ruddy believes Wolves offer the perfect opportunity to launch the “second chapter” of his career, and is confident he is joining a progressive club with realistic ambitions to reach the Premier League.
The experienced 30-year-old goalkeeper already has a promotion from the Sky Bet Championship with Norwich on his CV, as well as several seasons in the top flight, and remains hungry for a repeat performance with his new club.
Already approaching 400 career appearances, the affable gloveman has put pen to paper on a two-year deal after choosing Wolves over several other potential destinations to join as a free agent.
“For me now this is a new challenge,” he says.
“There were other offers on the table but Wolves is the one which excited me the most.
“Everyone within the football world can see that they are trying to do something exciting and really progress as a club
“The owners have been in for nearly a year and have really set their stall out with the signings they have made.
“They have shuffled around the Head Coaches a bit but hopefully have found a settled formula now and the signings coming in will have a positive influence on the squad going forward.
“I see this as the second chapter of my career now.
“I could have maybe waited on a few Premier League clubs to see what they were doing regarding their goalkeepers.
“But the guarantee here of really battling to play is important.
“Being 30 years old, and feeling in the best shape I have been in for a long while, I am determined that Wolves will get the best out of me that I feel I can give them.
“With the changes happening in the club at the moment, the players that are coming in and the manager’s vision for it, it suits me down to the ground.”
And that Premier League ambition, and all the expectation and pressure associated with it?
“Every player in the changing room here wants to play in the Premier League,” says Ruddy.
“And I am no different.
“I have had a taste of it and I know what it is about.
“I know how to get out of this league as well which hopefully will have a positive influence on the other guys.
“The expectation levels at Wolves are going higher and higher.
“There are big crowds here and Molineux is a great place to come and play.
“Having been around promotion before you want more of that.
“This season is a big season for the football club and hopefully we can all come together with the same aim, which is promotion.”
Ruddy has been impressed by the vision of Head Coach Nuno Espírito Santo – himself a former goalkeeper – and is also looking forward to working with goalkeeping coach Rui Barbosa, who counts Iker Casillas, Ricardo and new Manchester City keeper Ederson amongst his former charges.
“It is interesting to be working for a Head Coach who used to be a goalkeeper,” says Ruddy.
“I am not sure how ‘hands on’ he will be with me – excuse the pun! – but it will be interesting and isn’t something I have had before.
“It will be good to see his point of view about how to go about things from a goalkeeping point of view.
“The resumes of the coaching staff here speak for themselves and were a massive factor in my decision to come to Wolves.
“To be able to take their level of experience and knowledge of game can hopefully make me a better player.
“Hopefully this is a progressive step from me and we can get to where we want to be.
“It is a difficult league the Championship, and we will have to adapt to it as players and as a management staff as well.”
Ruddy departs with the squad for the ten-day pre-season training camp in Austria, including three fixtures, perfect timing as he looks to get right up to speed with his new club.
“This is always an important time and getting the game time and training days under my belt is vital,” he explains.
“I have been doing individual work and gym work over the summer so to be able to get the footballs out again will be nice.
“I have spoken to Ryan (Bennett) a fair bit over the last few weeks and he says he has settled in really well, is enjoying the club and that there is a good group of lads here.
“I am looking forward to getting to know them better over the next week or so.”
And he is also relishing the prospect of playing for the Wolves’ fans, believing a fully together club will prove vital ahead of the gruelling challenges posed by the Championship.
“It is going to be a tough season this year,” he says.
“But with the fans’ support - and if we can sell out the stadium - it will be massive.
“It is an exciting young squad here mixed with a nice blend of experience.
“Wolves is a progressive club where you can come and grow as a player.
“Hopefully we can take that journey together this year and reach the heights that we want to reach.”