Carl Ikeme

Carl Onora Ikeme (born 8 June 1986) is a former professional footballer who played as a goalkeeper.

Carl Ikeme
Ikeme playing for Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2014
Personal information
Full name Carl Onora Ikeme[1]
Date of birth (1986-06-08) 8 June 1986[2]
Place of birth Sutton Coldfield, England
Height 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)[3]
Playing position Goalkeeper
Youth career
0000–2003 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2003–2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers 191 (0)
2004Accrington Stanley (loan) 3 (0)
2005–2006Stockport County (loan) 9 (0)
2009Charlton Athletic (loan) 4 (0)
2009Sheffield United (loan) 2 (0)
2010Queens Park Rangers (loan) 17 (0)
2010Leicester City (loan) 5 (0)
2011Middlesbrough (loan) 10 (0)
2011Doncaster Rovers (loan) 5 (0)
2012Doncaster Rovers (loan) 10 (0)
Total 256 (0)
National team
2015–2016 Nigeria 10 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

He spent his entire career at Wolverhampton Wanderers, making 207 appearances across all competitions. He was part of their teams that won the Championship in 2009 and League One in 2014, and he made one Premier League appearance in 2012. Throughout his time at Wolves, he was loaned to eight other clubs. Born and raised in England, Ikeme chose to represent Nigeria at international level, earning ten caps between 2015 and 2016.

In July 2017, Ikeme was diagnosed with acute leukaemia. A year later, after being in complete remission, he retired.

Club career

Early career

Ikeme progressed through Wolverhampton Wanderers' academy and made the first team squad in their 2003–04 Premier League season. Due to Matt Murray's long term injury, he was promoted to the substitutes' bench for a string of games but never played.

He moved on a month-long loan to Conference Premier side Accrington Stanley on 14 October 2004, to fill the gap in their team caused by Jon Kennedy's broken leg.[4] He made his senior debut on 16 October when he played the first of four games for them, keeping a clean sheet in a goalless draw at Aldershot Town.

He finally made his Wolves debut the following season, in a 5–1 win over Chester City in the League Cup second round on 23 August 2005.[5] He also had a further loan move to Stockport County in late 2005 which was cut short due to a hand injury.[6] On 26 August 2006 he made his league debut for Wolves when he appeared as a late substitute in a 1–0 home win over Luton Town, replacing Murray for the final three minutes.[7]

Ikeme suffered a knee injury during the 2006–07 season and had to undergo surgery, which kept him out of contention until late 2007. After recovering, he was an unused substitute or only employed in reserve team fixtures. It was not until September 2008 that he got his chance to return to Wolves' first team after regular keeper Wayne Hennessey was suspended.[8] He enjoyed his longest run of games in a Wolves shirt until injury ruled him out for the remainder of the season, during which the club went on to claim the Championship title and reach the Premier League.

Championship loan spells

After regaining fitness, he joined League One side Charlton Athletic on a month's loan in October 2009 to cover for injured Robert Elliot,[9] making five appearances. Upon the end of this loan he immediately went out on loan again, this time to Championship side Sheffield United for a month[10] but a hamstring injury halted his stay. He recovered from this setback and was again sent out on loan to a Championship club, this time Queens Park Rangers during January 2010, where he made 17 appearances.[11]

In August 2010, he again went out on loan when he joined Leicester City on a one-month emergency deal as cover for injured keeper Chris Weale.[12] This spell was later extended but ended when the Foxes recruited Chris Kirkland at the end of November, after four appearances by Ikeme. He spent the remainder of the 2010–11 season back at Wolves.

Ikeme completed a one-month loan move to Championship side Middlesbrough in August 2011, after impressing in a pre-season trial.[13] This loan deal was extended for a further month in August,[14] and then for a third and final month until 1 November.[15] He kept six clean sheets in ten games before a hand injury saw him return to Molineux.

Once recovered, he had a loan spell at another Championship side when he joined Doncaster Rovers in November 2011. He made five appearances for the club as they struggled at the foot of the table before the deal expired in January.[16] He returned to them once again in March 2012, joining on an initial one-month loan deal,[17] later extended to run until the end of the season.[18] However, he was recalled by Wolves following an injury to first choice goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey; by this point, Doncaster had been confirmed as relegated to League One under his future Wolves manager Dean Saunders.

Return to Wolves

Ikeme made his first appearance for Wolves since January 2009 on the final day of 2011–12, coming on as a substitute for Dorus de Vries in the 51st minute of a 3–2 loss to Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium on 13 May 2012.[19]

Ikeme started the 2012–13 season as Wolves' first choice goalkeeper in the Championship following injuries to Hennessey and De Vries; he maintained his place in the first team when the latter returned in September 2012. In March 2013 he conceded a bizarre own goal during a league game against Bristol City, when he allowed a David Davis backpass to go between his legs and roll over the line.[20] Ikeme was substituted at half time, and it was later confirmed that he had broken his hand during the interval by punching a tactics board in the dressing room in frustration at the incident.[21] This injury kept him out for the remainder of the season,[22] which ended in relegation to League One.

Ikeme retained the goalkeeping position at Wolves for the 2013–14 season, excelling in a 3–0 win over Colchester United at the Colchester Community Stadium on 5 October 2013 when he saved a late penalty from Freddie Sears.[23] However, he again suffered a broken hand when he was injured in a collision against Tranmere on 1 January 2014.[24] He returned to Wolves' goal now as the established first choice, following the sale of Hennessey, and was a part of the team that won the League One title with a record points tally. After keeping 22 clean sheets across the season Ikeme was named in the PFA League One Team of the Year alongside four other teammates.[25]

Once back in the Championship, Ikeme impressed at the start of 2014–15, keeping five clean sheets in the first eight games, during which he saved an Owen Garvan penalty in a 1–0 win over Bolton Wanderers on 20 September 2014 at Molineux.[26]

During the 2016–17 season, Ikeme extended his current deal, ensuring he is contracted to Wolves until summer 2020.[27] The goalkeeper received his first career red card on 21 January 2017 in a league match at Norwich City for pushing Wes Hoolahan;[28] when Wolves appealed against it, the suspension was reduced from three matches to two.[29]

Illness and retirement

On 6 July 2017, Wolverhampton Wanderers announced that Ikeme had been diagnosed with acute leukaemia after returning abnormal blood tests during a routine pre-season check-up.[30] Wolves won the Championship title and returned to the Premier League, but Ikeme took no part due to his treatment.[31]

Ikeme told the public on 23 June 2018 that he was in "complete remission" after "a tough year and intense chemotherapy".[32] He announced his retirement on medical grounds on 27 July.[33] The team's new goalkeeper Rui Patrício left the number 1 jersey vacant in Ikeme's honour, choosing the 11 instead.[34]

International career

Ikeme was born in Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands,[2] and was eligible to represent England or Nigeria at international level, choosing the latter. He was first called up to the "Super Eagles" squad in March 2007 by new manager Berti Vogts, who named a 37-man provisional squad for a 2008 Africa Cup of Nations qualification match against Uganda that introduced other foreign-born players such as Gabriel Agbonlahor and Toto Tamuz.[35]

He made his international debut for Nigeria on 5 September 2015 against Tanzania in a 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualification game.[36] Ikeme made three appearances early on in Nigeria's successful qualification campaign for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but could not go to the final tournament due to his cancer treatment, which manager Gernot Rohr called his greatest regret.[37]

Career statistics



Club Season League FA Cup League Cup Other Total
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2004–05 Championship 0000000000
2005–06 Championship 0000100010
2006–07 Championship 2000000020
2007–08 Championship 0000000000
2008–09 Championship 120001000130
2009–10 Premier League 0000000000
2010–11 Premier League 0000000000
2011–12 Premier League 1000000010
2012–13 Championship 380102000410
2013–14 League One 410201010450
2014–15 Championship 330200000350
2015–16 Championship 340101000360
2016–17 Championship 310200000330
2017–18 Championship 0000000000
Total 19108070102070
Accrington Stanley (loan) 2004–05 Conference Premier 3000001040
Stockport County (loan) 2005–06 League Two 9000000090
Charlton Athletic (loan) 2009–10 League One 4000001050
Sheffield United (loan) 2009–10 Championship 2000000020
Queen's Park Rangers (loan) 2009–10 Championship 170000000170
Leicester City (loan) 2010–11 Championship 5000000050
Middlesbrough (loan) 2011–12 Championship 100000000100
Doncaster Rovers (loan) 2011–12 Championship 150000000150
Career total 25308070302710




Wolverhampton Wanderers



  1. "The Mons take on the Wolves". The Northern Standard. 8 July 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2013.
  2. Hugman, Barry J., ed. (2010). The PFA Footballers' Who's Who 2010–11. Mainstream Publishing. p. 212. ISBN 978-1-84596-601-0.
  3. "Carl Ikeme". Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. Archived from the original on 19 June 2018. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  4. "Accrington snap up keeper Ikeme". BBC Sport. 14 October 2004.
  5. "Wolves 5–1 Chester". BBC Sport. 23 August 2005.
  6. "Keeper Howarth loaned to Hatters". BBC Sport. 12 January 2006.
  7. "Wolves 1–0 Luton". BBC Sport. 26 August 2006.
  8. "McCarthy tipping Ikeme to shine". BBC Sport. 26 September 2008.
  9. "Charlton sign Wolves keeper Ikeme". BBC Sport. 28 October 2009.
  10. "Sheff Utd sign Ikeme and Kallio". BBC Sport. 26 November 2009.
  11. "Queens Park Rangers sign Wolves keeper Carl Ikeme". BBC Sport. 6 January 2010.
  12. "Wolves loan keeper Carl Ikeme to Leicester City". BBC Sport. 26 August 2010.
  13. "Keeper completes Boro loan". Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. 2 August 2011. Archived from the original on 8 August 2011.
  14. "Ikeme Loan Extended". Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. 26 August 2011. Archived from the original on 13 September 2012.
  15. "Wolves keeper Carl Ikeme extends Middlesbrough loan". BBC Sport. 27 September 2011. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  16. "Doncaster Rovers sign Carl Ikeme on loan from Wolves". BBC Sport. 10 November 2011.
  17. "Doncaster Rovers re-sign Wolves goalkeeper Carl Ikeme". BBC Sport. 1 March 2012.
  18. "Duo depart Rovers on loan". Yahoo. 22 March 2012.
  19. "Wigan 3–2 Wolves". BBC Sport. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
  20. "Own-goal calamity at Wolves as keeper nutmegged by his defender". Daily Mail. 17 March 2013.
  21. "Angry keeper breaks own hand". 3 News NZ. 20 March 2003. Archived from the original on 1 January 2014. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
  22. "Boss confirms Ikeme break". Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. 19 March 2013. Archived from the original on 1 January 2014.
  23. "Colchester 0–3 Wolves". BBC Sport. Retrieved 5 October 2013.
  24. "Carl Ikeme: Wolves keeper out for six weeks with broken hand". BBC Sport. 2 January 2014.
  25. "Sky Bet League 1 Team of the Season 2013/14". Retrieved 23 May 2014.
  26. "Wolves 1–0 Bolton". BBC Sport. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  27. "Carl Ikeme signs new Wolves contract". Express & Star. 29 December 2016. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
  28. "Carl Ikeme: Wolves to appeal against goalkeeper's red card at Norwich". BBC Sport. 23 January 2017. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
  29. "Carl Ikeme Appeal". Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. 24 January 2017. Retrieved 12 February 2017.
  30. "Club Statement: Carl Ikeme". 6 July 2017. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  31. Dicken, Alex (29 April 2018). "Watch: Carl Ikeme sends emotional message to Wolves supporters amidst promotion celebrations". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
  32. "Carl Ikeme: Wolves keeper in 'complete remission'". BBC Sport. 23 June 2018. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  33. "Carl Ikeme: Wolverhampton Wanderers goalkeeper announces retirement". BBC Sport. 27 July 2018. Retrieved 27 July 2018.
  34. Hatfield, Luke (10 August 2018). "Rui Patricio honours Carl Ikeme as Wolves reveal new kit numbers". Express & Star. Retrieved 12 August 2018.
  35. "Vogts' first squad causes a stir". BBC Sport. 7 March 2007.
  36. 🇳🇬 Super Eagles [@NGSuperEagles] (5 September 2015). "LINE UP VS TANZANIA. Your take? USE #TANVNGA #TanzaniaMustFall Subs: Ezenwa, Rabiu, Eduok, Ujah, Akas, Igboun, Godfrey" (Tweet) via Twitter.
  37. "Ikeme's Absence My Biggest W/Cup Regret – Rohr". Concise News. 15 May 2018. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
  38. "Carl Ikeme profile". Soccerbase. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
  39. Carl Ikeme at
  40. "Wolverhampton Wanderers 1–0 Doncaster Rovers". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  41. "Wolverhampton Wanderers 3–0 Carlise United". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  42. "League 1 Team of the Season 2013/14". English Football League. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  43. "Luis Suarez: Liverpool striker wins PFA Player of the Year award". BBC Sport. 28 April 2014. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
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