Curtis Davies says that Matt Murray has all the attributes to become an England international goalkeeper.
Davies, the West Bromwich Albion captain, watched Murray produce a superlative display to ensure a 1-0 victory for Wolverhampton Wanderers yesterday.
Jay Bothroyd scored the winning goal in the 83rd minute but Murray made five good saves, two of them when confronted by Diomansy Kamara, on a day when Wolves climbed to fourth position in the Coca-Cola Championship.
Albion, who slipped to fifth, have failed to win any of their past four matches and are seven points behind Birmingham City, the leaders, who have played a match fewer.
But how different it would have been had Kamara, who has scored 21 goals this season, not lost his battle with Murray. "Matt Murray looked like the goalkeeper that he is going to become," Davies said. "Based on the match here, I don't see why he cannot go on and play for England. He played very well and denied us.
"Kamara is not too down and we have tried in the dressing-room to lift him up. We all know he is a good finisher. But Matt Murray just had one of those days. He even saved one with his head."
Davies felt that Albion should have had a penalty when Kamara appeared to be fouled by Neill Collins. But the central defender, who performed well alongside Neil Clement, said: "We have had decisions that have gone against us, especially with Kamara, who probably thought he should have had a penalty. They were harsh decisions. I could go on about referees all day but this match has gone now."
Since Albion defeated Wolves in the FA Cup, Wolves have remained unbeaten in eight matches while Albion have not won since February 20.
"Wolves have done well since we beat them in the FA Cup," Davies said. "They have upped their game and come at us. But we did have a few more chances than when we beat them.
"I didn't think, when we beat them in the FA Cup, that Wolves would go on to overtake us. That was nothing to do with their form but more because of the form that we were in, with the way we started the year. Losing to us was the kick in the backside that they needed.
"I hope this defeat does us a favour. The loss hurts, no matter who it is against. It is a shame we are in this situation. We have got big characters and this is a test of character.
"There are only nine games left and there is no time to sulk. There will be no better time to play Crystal Palace than three days after this. We know we need to put it right and at home we have been quality.
"We need to take confidence from when we beat Palace at their place. I am confident we can but we need to keep going after that.
"It is going to be hard to go up automatically. Looking at the table, we need to gain three wins more than Derby County between now and the end of the season. We need Derby to drop a few points, and Wolves and Sunderland also.
"It is unfortunate that we have left ourselves in this position after being top of the table a little while ago. We are strong, we are a good team, and we can bounce back. If we are to put pressure on the top two, we need to win these games. And if we do not buck up our ideas, we might even slip out of the play-off positions.
"We shouldn't take anything for granted we will finish in a play-off position if we do not finish in the top two."
Bothroyd delighted in the victory and in his goal, which has come amid the backdrop of a trying season. Indeed, his introduction annoyed some Wolves fans and his success made a fool of the local radio reporter who observed: "Bothroyd's coming on and that's good news for Albion — he's useless."
Bothroyd said: "It has been a difficult period for me, what with being injured and then having to take a place on the substitutes' bench. But, it was a great feeling to come on and to score the winning goal.
"The gaffer said to me 'do you fancy a bit of this' just after the hour-mark, and of course I said 'yes'. I then popped inside to the loo and when I came out he was shouting at me; asking where I'd been.
"I nearly scored with my first touch, but Dean Kiely [Albion goalkeeper] did well to save it, and that gave me a big confidence boost.
"I know Dean Kiely from when I was at Charlton and it became a bit of a personal battle between us. I was chatting to him before the game and then at half time, and I was warning him to be on his guard.
"But, overall, I think it was a great team performance. Obviously I am delighted to score on a personal level but first and foremost this is a great result for the team.
"Matt Murray was fantastic in goal, he pulled off some great saves, and everyone else was terrific as well. It is hard to single anyone out."