'Bargain' Wolves keeper Rui Patricio getting even better – Matt Murray

Former Wolves keeper Matt Murray insists Rui Patricio is one of the Premier League’s most dependable shot-stoppers and has proven to be an ‘absolute bargain’.

Rui Patricio of Wolverhampton Wanderers saves a penalty from Jamie Vardy of Leicester City (AMA)
Rui Patricio of Wolverhampton Wanderers saves a penalty from Jamie Vardy of Leicester City (AMA)

Patricio has kept four top-flight clean sheets so far this season, putting him joint top of the pile along with Villa’s Emiliano Martinez and Southampton’s Alex McCarthy.

Snapped up from Sporting Lisbon – for an eventual £16million – he has played 84 league games and kept 24 clean sheets.

And Murray, who was the man of the match as Wolves won the 2003 play-off final and played 100 times between the sticks, has been mightily impressed by the 32-year-old Portuguese as he said: “He’s been an absolute bargain.

“The only thing that surprised me was where Newcastle snuck that one free-kick in recently.

“If ever a goal goes in, you go ‘Oh’. That’s it, because I just think he’s super-calm and makes it look simple.

“He has good positioning, decision-making, and his English isn’t as bad as you might think.

“With foreign players, they have to learn the lingo – pitch language. It’s the little things like shouting ‘keeper’s’ or ‘away’.

“Obviously you’ve got Conor Coady who’s that real voice, but what Rui will give is clear and concise information.

“He has a real presence and is a decent size.

“The thing I’ve noticed, especially after lockdown, is that he’s dealing with the aerial ball.

“He’s got really good at that and his kicking has got that bit cleaner and more accurate.

“Obviously you’ve got your elite keepers like Alisson and Ederson but all in all, with the way we play and the saves he makes, I don’t think there’s many more consistent campaigners in the Premier League. I really don’t.”

Arriving in the summer of 2018 with plenty of fanfare after helping Portugal win Euro 2016 – which even led to a statute of him being put up in Leiria – Patricio has been Wolves’ No.1 ever since.

He has been among the top performers for Nuno Espirito Santo’s side so far this season, and Murray believes having a consistent back three in front of him has helped.

“He’s got a settled defence in front of him again – Willy Boly, Max Kilman and Coady,” said Murray. “And when you all play regularly together, you know what each other does.

“I can’t explain to you how important that is, having that settled unit in front of you.

“You just know what each other’s strengths and weaknesses are.”

Patricio will be aiming to add to his clean sheet haul against Southampton at Molineux on Monday while Wolves look to return to winning ways after a disappointing defeat at Leicester before the international break.

He is only two games away from 100 Molineux appearances across all competitions, and Murray added: “Honestly, I just think he’s a great guy, and he is robust.

“The number of games he has played already is a joke.

“He’s really good, and then waiting in the wings is John Ruddy.

“I just feel our goalkeeping department is really strong.

“If you look at the price that was paid for Rui, for the amount of games he’s played and the high level he has performed at, it was an absolute snip.”

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