Wolves have promoted Andreas Sondergaard to their first-team squad for training.
The 18-year-old, who is the club’s regular Under-23s goalkeeper, has stepped up after Will Norris joined Ipswich on a season-long loan and has been named in Nuno Espirito Santo’s squad for the Europa League group stages with first choice Rui Patricio, experienced John Ruddy and Harry Burgoyne, 22.
The news means the Denmark Under-18 international, who joined the first team in the 2018 pre-season trip to Switzerland, is training on a daily basis under the guidance of goalkeeping coach Rui Barbosa, but will continue to play for Rob Edwards’s side.
“Andreas is with the first team squad,” said Edwards. “The plan for him is he’ll be training with the first team and be playing for us. That’s fantastic for him.
“The more the lads train with the first team, they’re going to improve because they’re getting the best coaching and they’re with the best players. We’ve said to him, when he comes back, he’s got to look like he’s training with the first team.”
Sondergaard is highly regarded by Wolves, who it is alleged saw off competition from three Italian clubs to land him for a reported £400,000 from Danish outfit Odense BK in January 2018. Since then he has been rewarded with a new two-and-half-year contract on his 18th birthday in January and helped Wolves win the Premier League 2 Division 2 title last season.
Meanwhile, Edwards reports that summer signing Meritan Shabani is getting better all the time. The 20-year-old attacking midfielder, who signed a three-year contract from Bayern Munich last month, has soon settled in to life with the Under-23s and caught the eye playing just behind the main striker. Shabani could have had a couple of goals in the 0-0 draw against Everton Under-23s.
“Meritan is showing more and more quality all the time every day, so we’re really excited to have him in the building,” said Edwards. “I said it last week he will get more used to English football the longer he’s here, but I was really pleased with the way he has performed.”
Like the first team, Wolves Under-23s are competing on four fronts this season. They are adapting to life in Premier League 2 Division 1, with one win, a draw and two defeats from their four games this season, but are also in the International Cup, where they will play the likes of Chelsea and Paris Saint Germain, and the Leasing.com Trophy (formerly Football League Trophy).
Edwards wants to make a strong impression in all of the competitions. “Last year was about trying to get promoted,” he said. “We can’t get promoted this season. I want to see an identity – which I think you can see from us – and I want us to compete in every game, which we’ve done so far. If we do that, then who knows what we can achieve?
“We’re in four competitions, so I’d love to have a good run in something, and be challenging in something because it (last season’s achievement) was a great feeling for the lads and all of the staff to win something; it was fantastic. We’re going to have a go in all of them, so let’s see.”