JACK RUDDY, the Wolverhampton Wanderers goalkeeper, has revealed how the highly publicised indiscretions of Barcelona dashed his dreams of a La Liga deal.

The 19-year-old, who is in line to make his Scotland under-21 debut this evening against Estonia, embarked on an Iberian adventure when his parents, John and Jane, relocated to southern Spain in 2010.

With his promise swiftly spotted by locals, Ruddy played for Real Murcia's youth side and enjoyed a trial period at Villarreal.

However, when the time came for him to discuss professional terms, he was unable to sign senior forms for any club in Spain, due to a tightening of the regulations on registering foreign players under the age of 21.

The increasingly strict enforcement of those rules came after Barca were found guilty of breaching FIFA rules "prohibiting international transfers of players under the age of 18", with the Catalan giants subsequently given a transfer embargo for the entirety of 2015.

Ruddy explained: “I trained with local teams and then signed for Real Murcia in the Spanish second tier, but there was a ban in Spain on under-21 foreign players signing unless you have five years’ residency. I couldn’t actually sign a senior contract.

“I’d been on trial with Villarreal but I couldn’t join them and it all stemmed from Barcelona signing players illegally. Because of that, they put the ban in place and I got caught up in it. It was really disappointing, my dad was on the phone to the Spanish FA all the time trying to get it sorted but there was nothing we could do. I hadn’t been there long enough. I was a year short and could have waited another 12 months and I would have been fine."

Faced with the prospect of not having a club until he fulfilled residency criteria, Ruddy made the courageous decision to return to Britain – without his parents – at the age of 16.

He signed a contract at Bury and lived in digs with another youngster, Matty Foulds, who has since gone on to join Everton. Ruddy admits adjusting to life own his own in England forced him to grow up quickly. It was an eye-opening experience, whether cooking dinner or merely trying to catch a bus.

He continued: "It was a big decision as a 16-year-old but you just have to get on with it. I didn’t want to be not playing for a year. When I moved to Manchester I didn’t have a clue what to do, I was having to get buses and trains around the place but didn’t have an idea what I was meant to be doing. I spoke to my dad and he just said you have to get on with it – ask somebody.

“The football took care of itself, that was the norm. It was looking after myself and doing things like the washing and cooking that was a challenge. I used to have to FaceTime my mum to ask her how to make things in the kitchen. But I have my own flat now and I’ve learned quite a lot . . . I make a good Spaghetti Bolognese now."

Ruddy's risks appear to have paid dividends. He joined Wolves in the summer of 2016 and, as he earns his spurs learning from Wales and Nigeria goalkeepers Wayne Hennessy and Carl Ikeme, he is seen as a potential No.1 of the future at Molineux.

As such, he is determined to grasp his opportunity at international level tonight.

Ruddy added: “I have played for the Scotland Under-19s before, as well as younger age groups, so hopefully I can show what I can do at this level.”