Carl Ikeme: Wolves players must realise potential
Carl Ikeme has certainly seized his opportunity having won his place back in the Wolves side. And now he wants his young team mates to do the same – and realise their undoubted potential.
Ikeme has become one of the senior pros in a youthful team that has struggled for consistency this season.
And the 29-year-old Nigeria international feels his communication skills behind a young back-four have improved – something that's come naturally to him with experience.
"I think we're all learning as a unit and it'll hold the club in good stead in the long run," Ikeme said.
"There are some exciting players here and sometimes they just need a bit of time.
"I think (being more vocal) just happens with age. All of sudden I've become the old pro!
"And you realise you have to do a bit more. Sometimes people look switched on but they might not be. And the same with me, I need telling as well at times.
"Every year I feel like I'm improving vocally as a goalkeeper.
"I enjoy that (senior) role. Sometimes young players don't realise what they can achieve, or don't realise what a great club this is, and if you can achieve it how well you'll do and the high regard you'll be held in.
"Because I've been here for long enough I realise that.
"Even with the youth team players, I want them to have the same career and play X amount of games for the club, and if not have a good career somewhere else.
"I want everyone to do well and realise how fortunate they are."
It's been a frustrating season for Ikeme at times, particularly at the start of the campaign when he found himself out of the side behind Emiliano Martinez.
But staying professional in a time of adversity has held him in good stead.
"I've tried to seize my opportunity," he said.
"I felt even when I wasn't playing I kept my professionalism which was important.
"It's easy to drift when you're not playing and feel sorry for yourself and blame everyone else.
"I see it all the time with a lot of youngsters.
"I kept myself to myself and kept going, trained hard every day like I would if I was playing and always believed if I got my chance I could perform. At the minute it's going okay."
Ikeme and Wolves go into tomorrow's West Midlands derby 10 points off the play-offs.
Getting into the top six will be difficult, the keeper admits.
For now he's just looking at trying to complete a derby double over Blues after the 2-0 win at St Andrew's in October.
And Ikeme still hasn't forgotten last season's bitter 2-1 defeat to Blues, either.
"The 10 points makes it difficult to get there, everyone's realistic with that," he said.
"If we can get to five or six points we can have a push for it.
"At the minute we just need to concentrate on Birmingham on Sunday, realistically we need to take it game by game.
"They're a good side, they're well drilled and they ever really get thrashed, they're always in the game, so it'll be a tough game.
"We beat them earlier this season and they'll probably tell us they beat us at the end of last year, which a lot of us remember, so we want to get one over them again."
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