Wolves comment: Jonny Castro Otto so good in an unnatural role
There has been a lot of talk as of late about the versatility of some of Wolves’ players.
Leander Dendoncker and Romain Saiss have come in for credit for their ability to switch between midfield and defence with little fuss.
Adama Traore has been showered with praise for the improvement he has shown playing across three positions – right-wing, right-wing-back and centre forward.
Diogo Jota’s ability to play in either a front two or in a front three is widely appreciated too. And all of those are deserving of kind words.
But, I would like to use these column inches to hail Jonny Castro Otto for how fantastic he is.
After all, he has played out of position ever since he arrived at Wolves – not that it is at all noticeable now.
A right-footed player who would ideally be on the right of a defensive four has been at left-wing-back for the vast majority of his time in gold and black – and he has excelled.
He is not exceptionally quick, nor is he the best technical player on Wolves’ books.
Otto, though, is rock-solid in every aspect, and he deserves to be highlighted. Very few wingers have had the beating of him in the Premier League and his confidence going forward has grown exponentially.
His goal at Newcastle recently was fairly straightforward. After Martin Dubravka flapped at Matt Doherty’s cross, the Spaniard had the simple task of volleying in from the penalty spot.
This time last year, though, Otto would have been hugging the halfway line. He would not have trusted himself to make such an impact in the final third.
And at that time, I was one of those who was not entirely convinced by the former Celta Vigo man. After the departure of out-and-out left-footer and set-piece specialist Barry Douglas, having the replacement playing on his weaker side was a head-scratcher.
Ruben Vinagre had looked lively in his substitute showings, and there was an argument to give the Portuguese a run of games at left-wing-back.
But now – even with Vinagre developing nicely – Otto is very much the first-choice option. If you are picking Wolves’ strongest XI, he has to be in it.
Nuno Espirito Santo, asked about him during the week, was not exactly effusive in his praise but said: “I think he’s doing OK.
“It’s his second season. I think he’s doing quite well, quite well.
“Yes, he’s a versatile player, Jonny is one of the ones that we have. He can play on the right also. We have to look and decide.”
And, actually, those words from Nuno sum Otto up nicely – nothing massively flashy, he probably will not win player of the season for Wolves, and may not even be among the nominees.
There is no catchy chant about him, not many kids will have his name on the backs of their shirts.
But Otto is completely and utterly dependable – an unselfish, proper team player who gives his absolute maximum every time he pulls on gold and black. What’s not to love about that?