Jose Sa has spoken of his respect for John Ruddy, who he says pushes him to improve at Wolves.
The 29-year-old is enjoying an outstanding first season at Molineux.
Sa joined Wolves from Greek giants Olympiacos last summer, replacing Rui Patricio who had left the club a couple of days earlier.
Patricio was Portugal’s number one goalkeeper, and so, Sa coming in as an uncapped, little-known entity raised some eyebrows.
But scepticism around very quickly dissipated, with Sa proving to be an excellent all-rounder.
He’s made many amazing saves, and is also excellent in terms of his distribution, alertness and commanding of his area.
He is being talked about as a possible inclusion for the PFA Team of the Year. It would be absolutely no less than he deserves.
Sa has been brilliant. But the goalkeeper is keen to let it be known that his high level is partly down to the push provided by the club’s number two, Ruddy.
The 35-year-old has only made five cup appearances so far this season.
He knows his role, but Sa says the veteran is always pushing him to be better.
He told Carl Ikeme in an interview with the club’s official website: “John [Ruddy] is amazing and helps me a lot too because he works all the time at the limit.
“If I don’t work like him, he will play. Like the coach says, he’ll play who is better in the moment and can help. If I don’t do my job and my work, I don’t play.
“Either of us could play and the team will be protected, but of course only one can play. It’s very important when you have a guy behind you who helps you to improve and be better, and I feel this about John.”
Sa comments show why Wolves need to keep Ruddy around
Ruddy stands to leave Wolves at the end of his contract this summer.
Bruno Lage has said he wants the star to agree an extension. He sees him as a leader within the group.
Sa has now said that he really values Ruddy and the way he works to push him.
Given these things, Wolves officials should really be trying to get him to stick around.
If he is a big reason for Sa being as good as he is, then surely it would be a foolish decision to let him walk away.