Wales defender Sam Ricketts may leave Wolverhampton Wanderers

By Rob PhillipsBBC Wales football correspondent
Sam Ricketts in action for Wolverhampton Wanderers
Sam Ricketts has also played for Hull City, Bolton Wanderers and Swansea City

Wales defender Sam Ricketts says he may have to leave Wolverhampton Wanderers to prolong his international career.

Ricketts, 33, has not featured for the Championship promotion contenders since November.

The former Swansea City full-back is out of contract at Molineux this summer.

"I would like to play for as long as I can and it's looking like I will have to find a new club to do so," Ricketts told Sport Wales.

Wolves manager Kenny Jackett - the former Wales international and Swansea City boss - has asked Ricketts to do some coaching while he has been out of the first-team picture.

"He's [Jackett] been great," Ricketts said.

"He has explained his decision. One day I may be a manager passing on that same thing. So you respect that.

"He has been fine with me and good enough to ask me to help out with the defenders, which I take as a huge honour."

Ricketts signed for Wolves from Bolton in 2013 and has been a regular fixture in the Wales squad since being given his international debut by John Toshack against Hungary in 2005.

An extra incentive for Ricketts to continue playing is his desire to be part of the Wales squad who hope to make the final stages of a major tournament for the first time since 1958.

Sam Ricketts in action for Wolverhampton Wanderers
Sam Ricketts won the last of his 52 caps for Wales in the 3-1 win against Iceland in March 2014

Wales face a key Euro 2016 qualifier away to group leaders Israel in Haifa on 28 March and Ricketts is expected to be part of Chris Coleman's squad, which is due to be unveiled next week.

Unbeaten Wales are just one point behind Group B leaders Israel, but are sweating on the fitness of Hull City defender James Chester and will be without injured Newcastle United utility back Paul Dummett.

"It's a great opportunity to qualify and I want to be part of it," Ricketts said.

"Whether that be in a starting position or to be in the squad to push and help the young players coming though, I certainly feel there's a role for me.

"If Wales qualify this time, and I have been travelling for the last 10 or 11 years and I was not able to go, it would be devastating.

"So it's certainly in my mind to keep going for that."

Watch more of the interview with Sam Ricketts on Sport Wales, BBC Two Wales Friday at 19:00 GMT or on iPlayer for seven days after transmission.

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