Wolves rookie Jack Price was today hailed by head coach Kenny Jackett as the team’s best player in Saturday’s 2-0 win against Sheffield United.
The 20-year-old Shrewsbury-born midfielder replaced fellow homegrown academy graduate David Davis, who served a one-match ban, in the middle of the park alongside Kevin McDonald for his full League debut.
Price was a composed figure against the Blades as Wolves made it seven wins from nine this season and cut Leyton Orient’s lead at the top of League One to three points.
And Jackett highlighted his performance as a real plus. “We tinkered slightly with the midfield, because it hasn’t quite been right for us,” said the head coach.
“I thought Price had a fantastic debut for us and was our best player.
“As debuts go, that was right up there. He seemed to be one step ahead in his play and was a real positive for us.”
After a lacklustre first-half performance branded by some fans the worst 45 minutes of the season, Wolves improved considerably after the break.
No-one was more influential than winger Bakary Sako, who set up Leigh Griffiths to open the scoring with his fifth goal of the season then bludgeoned home the second with a thunderous 30-yard shot for his sixth strike of the campaign.
And his second-half contribution delighted Jackett.
“It was an excellent strike,” said the boss. “He had a good second half.
“We were very pleased with his contribution which was crucial, because he made one goal and scored another. It was a rocket of a shot which sealed the game for us.”
There was an element of good fortune about Griffiths’ goal after his initial effort came back off keeper George Long then hit the striker on the thigh.
But Jackett believes the Scotland international earned his slice of good luck.
“You do get good fortune off goalscorers and off good players,” he said.
“Leigh is always a threat even if he’s quiet in a game.
“He got himself in a very good position to get his goal and also then set up Dave Edwards for a header which was disallowed but looked a very close call.”
Jackett was full of praise for his defence after they kept a second successive clean sheet. But the head coach is also delighted that his defenders in reserve are putting pressure on the current incumbents.
“The players showed plenty of guts and determination to stay in the match,” he said.
“We’ve also got good players to come in as cover defensively as well. It’s a good department for us when you think of Richard Stearman, Kevin Foley, George Elokobi, Ethan Ebanks-Landell and Aaron McCarey, and Wayne Hennessey out getting good match practice at Yeovil.
“In terms of competition and cover through a long winter, it feels like we’re in a good place.”