Wolves preseason and opening two games has shown signs that Bruno Lage is stamping his mark on this wolves team. Out of possession, playing a high line and pressing much further up the pitch, and in possession, more fluidity, more direct and creating more chances than previously seen under Nuno- emulating his philosophy “football without goals is nothing”.
A new manager, bringing a new and contrasting philosophy of free-flowing football to the pitch could be the catalyst of opportunity for existing players to flourish and new players to break into the starting XI. Bruno Lage can take great credit for the development and breakthrough of one of the best youngsters to play the game in Joao Felix during his time at Benfica; I wouldn’t be surprised to see young Wolves stars handed the opportunity to impress on the senior stage this season. Touted to play in a new four at the back formation, this new way of playing will open doors for many players Wolves fans are eager to see preform consistently in the side. I’ve selected three players, one from each area of the pitch, who have the potential to shine this season.
At 19 years old, playing in a very physical league with a huge price tag over his head, young Fabio has been crying out to have the opportunity to play in a two-up-top. Wolves fans will agree they can see he has an abundance of potential, particularly in front of goal with a couple of clinical finishes last season, but it’s clear he isn’t ready to be the man to lead the line alone. With the much-needed and miracle return of Raul Jiminez, and the fact that there is every possibility Bruno may prefer to operate in a 4-4-2, it provides the perfect platform for Fabio Silva to prove his worth. Though a prolific goal-scorer, Raul Jiminez is a great link-up player. Wolves fans have been spoilt by the telepathy between him and Adama Traore (Man City away probably the most memorable) and could be a key influencer in the development on the Portuguese youngster. If 4-4-2 is the preferred system, Wolves fans will be hopeful that this is a relationship which could flourish.
Since being promoted to the premier league, some Wolves fans have been critical of Ruben Neves given his lack of goals. Though since being promoted, his role has somewhat changed, regularly being the anchor in midfield alongside his Portuguese compatriot and therefore hasn’t found himself as high up the pitch; many Wolves fans believe he has more to give. Bruno Lage could be the man to hand him that opportunity. Whether it’s a two- or three-man midfield, with an attacking philosophy instilled in the Wolves players, you’d back Ruben Neves to take on that role out of his fellow central midfielders. The midfield maestro has proven on many occasions just how much potential he has for both club and country, however life under Nuno you feel may have been a little more restricting; Wolves fans will be excited to see what Neves can do this season with the reins being loosened. Wolves fans would be delighted to see Ruben Neves get close double figures this campaign.
A regularly called upon squad player under Nuno, but a fan favourite and one with plenty of potential. Strong presence, comfortable on the ball and a strong tackler, Max Kilman has every opportunity to be in contention for a place in the starting XI. Though Bruno Lage’s managerial career to date has been brief, he is not averse to trusting his younger players on the main stage, and this could be exactly what Kilman needs: a regular run in the side with the full backing of his manager. Competition at CB will be fierce this season, a potential back four sees one less place up for grabs and word on the street is that Wolves fans can expect to see another CB coming in before the end of the transfer window. That being said, since Kilman has been called upon, he’s been a consistent performer and still has plenty of room for maturity and development; there is no reason why he shouldn’t be considered for a starting place in the side.
Who else do you thing will prosper under Wolves new manager? Let us know on all social media platforms @wolvesfancast