Zeli Ismail was today challenged to become more direct to become a major creative force for Wolves in the promotion push.
The 19-year-old winger returned to the team for Saturday’s fortunate 1-0 win at Shrewsbury but was withdrawn after 66 minutes to be replaced by Dave Edwards, who was making his comeback.
Ismail has cut a frustrating figure at times as he has sometimes passed up the chance of an early cross to try to beat his opponent, only to run into trouble.
Head coach Kenny Jackett believes the one-time England schoolboy prospect can become more effective for the team.
He said: “In situations in the opponent’s half and in the final third, he’s quick enough to go past people, but he needs to be more direct with his play because there are a lot of times when he doesn’t need the trick to go past someone.
“I think he can play better – he was quite safe on the ball on Saturday.
“He has the flair to go past people and put crosses in.
“There are many times when he doesn’t need a trick to do that – he’s quick enough and direct enough to be able to get straight to that.”
But Jackett backed Ismail to learn from his mistakes and emerge a better player.
“The hardest part of the game is to continually go past people, create and make things happen, but it’s a flair he has and he’ll learn from it, and go again,” he said.
“He hasn’t particularly said anything to me on this one, although I’ve talked to him quite a lot about his overall situation and his game.
“He’s quick enough and he’s genuinely two-footed – he can keep opponents guessing because he can go either way.
“So for him to be more direct about his play and go at people when he gets the ball, is something we’ve talked about him doing.”
Jackett also wants Ismail to become more consistent in his performances.
“His challenge is to stay on that pitch for 90 minutes and be part of a side that makes sure we get the clean sheet,” he added.
“Going forward he’s shown enough to have a future.”
But put that it may be asking too much for Ismail to remain a regular all season, Jackett said: “Maybe so.”