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Why new Wolves goalkeeper Rui Patricio will wear No.11

Wolves new goalkeeper Rui Patricio will wear the club’s No.11 shirt this season, in a show of respect to former No.1 Carl Ikeme.

The Black Country side have confirmed that the Portugal international will continue with the No.11, which he had worn during pre-season.

Last season’s first-choice keeper, John Ruddy, will continue to wear his No.21 shirt, while Will Norris, now third choice at the club, will wear No.31.

Patricio, who has arrived from Sporting Lisbon, had been expected to take the No.1 shirt at the club following the retirement of Ikeme.

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But in a classy act from the Portuguese, he instead asked to continue to wear the No.11 shirt and to leave the No.1 vacant in honour of Ikeme, the homegrown stopper who saw his career cut short this summer.

Ikeme, a Nigerian international, was diagnosed with leukaemia 13 months ago.

A fan favourite who made 207 appearances for the club, Ikeme is now in "complete remission" but has been forced to call time on his career because of the toll chemotherapy has taken on his body.

In an interview with the Guardian recently, Ikeme offered tremendous clarity on his situation.

“I was 31 when I was diagnosed – it’s young,” said Ikeme.

“There’s a lot of life to live at that age. Obviously you want to be around to see your children grow up – and you don’t need any more motivation than that to pull through it.”

“The first day or two maybe, you do think: ‘Why me? I’m not a bad person.’ But then afterwards, I thought: ‘I’ve been overly blessed in so many ways that other people haven’t. I had a baby daughter, another one coming, I got to live my dream by playing football for a living, so why not me?’"

Ikeme remains a regular visitor to Wolves’ training ground and the club are keen for him to return in some capacity when he is ready.

"When Carl came to tell us his news, yes there was sadness, but also great happiness to see him so healthy and hungry for the opportunities that lay ahead of him," said Wolves’ executive chairman Jeff Shi.

"Carl is strong, a fighter, something he has proven in his playing career and also during what has been a very challenging time for him, so I have no doubt he will be a success in whatever he does next.

"We wish Carl all the very best for the future, but remind him he will always remain a part of the Wolves family."

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