Pint-sized Wolves prospect Jack Price showing gallons of talent
Jack Price might be small but he has high hopes. Arguably, no-one of the clutch of homegrown Wolves players have seized the chance to be part of Kenny Jackett's 'young and vibrant' revolution more than the pint-sized Molineux prospect this summer.
Comfortable on the ball and with the vision to pass the ball long and short, Shrewsbury-born Price has slotted in impressively alongside Lee Evans and David Davis and is relishing his big chance.
In the two pre-season friendlies so far, he has played mostly wide-right and wide-left, although his range of passing and busy nature seems more suited to the middle of the park. "Paul Scholes was my idol with his passing, although he has a bit more range than me," said Price.
"But being a small player, I love to keep the ball and play those little 'give and gos' and balls around the corner like Iniesta.
"I enjoy it more in the middle because I feel that's my best position, but if I'm told to play out wide – which is where I played at the weekend against Livingston – then I'm happy to fill in."
For the first time in many years, the prospect of a team filled with homegrown talent seems to be a realistic one after Jackett banished the big hitters and promoted several of the Under-21 squad. And Price is ready to seize his opportunity.
"It's the first time I've been around the first team and I'm enjoying it a lot more now," he said. "It's the first pre-season where I've had a chance to show what I can do at this level and it's just a case of keeping my feet on the ground and trying to kick on from here really.
"It's been good so far and I'd love to be involved this season. I've been at the club for a long time and I'd love to break through and keep my position. The desire is there – I've just got to keep working hard and if the gaffer is happy, I am happy to fill in anywhere."
Rather than being daunted in his new surroundings, Price feels at home.
And he believes it's because he's with so many familiar faces with Aaron McCarey, Matt Doherty, Danny Batth, Jamie Reckord, Evans, Davis, Anthony Forde, Zeli Ismail, Liam McAlinden, Jake Cassidy all involved in the first-team squad now supplemented by the experience of Edwards, George Elokobi, Richard Stearman and new captain Sam Ricketts.
And he says he has had no shortage of encouragement.
"The players have been really good – they have said 'if you make mistakes, it doesn't matter, just keep going'," he said.
"That way, you're not kicking yourself all the time and you're able to just carry on.
"There is a lot more confidence around this group, and certainly I feel more confidence around the first team than I ever have been before.
"I think it's because it's a different squad now and I know most of them.
"Sam the skipper has come in and he's a lovely bloke.
"I get on with him really well and he just encourages me."
Encouragement is equally forthcoming from head coach Kenny Jackett and assistant head coach Joe Gallen.
"Joe talks more than Kenny – he will tell you how it is and try to help us and pass on tips," he said.
"After each game he will help us and say 'this is what I want you to do' straight away and if you don't understand it, he will explain it to you.
"So it's really good and Kenny really encourages us as well and I'm really enjoying it."
The only missing from Price's game on tour was a goal – but it wasn't for the lack of trying after he forced Livingston keeper Darren Jamieson to acrobatically tip over his audacious left-footed chip from 40 yards before hitting the post.
"I tried one with my left foot that the keeper tipped over then I hit the post – I can't score to save my life at the moment!" he said.
"It was a bit 'hit and hope' – it just came to me and I thought I'd have a go and I was praying it would go in, trying to catch the keeper off guard.
"I'm sure one of them will go in soon – I've just got to keep practising and hopefully I can score."
Price will get his reward soon enough if he carries on.
But for him the big goal this season is for Wolves to win promotion.
"I'm very confident we can go straight up," he said.
"We've got to - it has to be done this season.
"I think we should be able to do it with the mix of experience and young lads."
And he is confident Wolves can cope with the pressure of being the 'big fish' in League One.
"Other teams will want to shut us down and will come to Molineux as if it's a cup final," he said.
"The gaffer has been warning us about that and I think we'll be able to handle that – we've got enough experience and quality."
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