1st Team Squad Goalkeepers: Wayne Hennessey, Dorus De Vries, Aaron McCarey
Overview: Last season was when Wayne Hennessey went from promising young keeper to established Premier League star. Despite his relative youth, already Hennessey has endured a topsy-turvy career at Wolves, but during the 2010/11 campaign he finally delivered on his potential and the Molineux faithful will now hope he has put his patchy form behind him once and for all and now he can kick on his career. Getting the verdict over Marcus Hahnemann was an important stage in his progression. In the past Mick McCarthy turned to the American when he felt the young Welshman was off his game, but Hennessy upped his game substantially to see off his challenge for the gloves to the point where Hahnemann decided to seek first team opportunities elsewhere. He’s always been blessed with excellent agility and good handling, but last season there was a maturity and consistency to his performances that hopefully suggests he has moved on to a new level.
Hennessey will start the season as first choice, but this time he’s got Dorus De Vries nipping at his heels. After being a vital part of the team that got Swansea to the Premier League, there was widespread surprise when he refused to sign a new deal at the club and instead headed north. He’s probably aware that he’ll start the season on the bench, but he’s also probably aware that Hennessy has had his dips in form and Mick McCarthy hasn’t been shy about dropping his first choice to the bench. It’s this sense of competition within the goalkeeping ranks that should help both players improve and the club should benefit. If he maintains the form of last season, you’d fully expect Hennessy to play the bulk of the league games, but De Vries is a decent option to have in reserve, even if there are a couple of flaws in his game that have the potential to be exposed at Premier League level.
We saw flashes of Aaron McCarey’s ability whilst he was on duty for the Ireland Under 19s, but it will be a while before he is a Premier League regular and we can expect that he’ll go out on loan for at least part of the season.
Worst case scenario: The fear of Hennessey relapsing into the jittery youngster we’ve seen in the past is the major concern. He performed well for months on end last season, so the signs are it won;t happen again, but the prospect can’t be ruled out entirely. De Vries is a capable goalkeeper and deserves his chance in the Premier League, but my instant is he’ll make a few too many mistakes for the top flight.
What will probably happen: Hennessey will perform well and De Vries won’t get much of a chance.