Former Benfica boss shares brilliant insight on NUFC signings Vlachodimos and Ruddy

Former Benfica and Wolves boss Bruno Lage has been speaking about Newcastle United’s double swoop for Odysseas Vlachodimos and John Ruddy, with his comments of particular interest as the only manager who has worked with both goalkeepers.

Speaking to The Chronicle, he described Vlachodimos – who arrived from Nottingham Forest last week – as a “calm guy”, a “good professional” and “top player”, hailing his experience at the very top after racking up 32 appearances in the UEFA Champions League with Benfica and regular appearances with the Greek national side.

Lage worked with Ruddy at Wolves during the 2021/22 season and only had great things to say about Ruddy, calling him a “top man” who was vital in the dressing room during his time at Molineux, a big voice behind the scenes and a leader who pushed Jose Sa “every day in training” to ensure standards were high.

“Ody is a calm guy.” Lage said. “That’s the kind of player and man you want in your team. A good professional, a top player and a family guy. I never saw him complaining. I never saw any team-mates talking about him in a negative way.

“I will repeat myself because John (Ruddy) is the same. He is also a top goalkeeper and a top man. I loved working with him and I said too many times in the past that he was very important for us in the dressing room to motivate his team-mates to do their best, especially before games. I heard him talking with the players a lot.

“The (Newcastle) scouts know everything. That’s why it’s not a coincidence that they found this profile of men. They know exactly in this moment what kind of role they will have. If you have these things and the players agree to go, it’s because Newcastle want to find the best men to build a solid and healthy group.”

An unnamed source that worked with Vlachodimos at Benfica added: “He’s 30 years old. He’s a Greece national team player. He has the experience with many appearances in the Champions League, which is a very good level.

“I know the Premier League is the equivalent of playing the Champions League every weekend. It’s not like the Portuguese league, but I think he’s ready. Newcastle have good goalkeepers. It’s not easy for Ody, but he’s fit for that.”

Tony Roberts – a former goalkeeping coach at Wolves – also spoke to The Chronicle about Ruddy, saying: “John is the ultimate professional. He pressed and pushed Jose Sa every day in training with his work ethic and his levels. He kept Jose on his toes and that’s why Jose had such a great first season when he joined Wolves.

“Just being around the squad, he’s a leader in the dressing room. Even though he was not playing, he was pushing the older players and the younger players. I can see why Newcastle have taken him because they have got somebody, if called upon, who has got the experience to deal with the pressure. I can’t speak highly enough of him.”

About Olly Hawkins

As a Junior Magpie since birth and season ticket holder, I eat, sleep and breathe all things NUFC! Here at the blog, I aim to bring you news, views, match reports and transfer exclusives as and when I get them.

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