Dave Edwards: Keeping Ruben Neves would be crucial for Wolves’ season

I’m fascinated by how Wolves’ season under new boss Bruno Lage is going to play out.

Ruben Neves (Wolves/Getty)
Ruben Neves (Wolves/Getty)

First of all it’s brilliant to have the fans back in the stadium, the first home game against Nuno’s Spurs will be special.

Going into the opener against Leicester, I know there has been the training camp in Spain and lots of games, but it feels like it’s been a short pre-season, with players coming back from the Euros late and not being able to get as much business done as they’d have liked.

I still think they are light on players. It’s great to see Ruben Neves still at the club, I think he’s been getting better every season. I watched the Coventry game, he played 45 minutes against Stoke the day before and 90 against Coventry and he was the best player on the pitch by a mile.

He will be the biggest signing of the window if they manage to keep him. He is someone to build the team around.

It’s interesting after last season’s debates about three, five or four at the back, the Lage style seems a lot more comfortable with three in defence.

It definitely suits Conor Coady and he brings Wolves another dimension when he plays. The one massive difference is how high the defensive line is, every opportunity screaming to get out, another 20 or 30 yards higher. It’s great with the press but can leave you vulnerable to good play.

There’s lots to work on, I’ve no idea how it’s going to play out but they definitely look more comfortable on the ball, willing to take more risks to beat the press.

There’s clearly a lot of method to Lage. It does look a bit ‘hare-um scare-um’ at times, passing at the back. But it will be worth it. With Adama Traore’s pace and a fit Raul Jimenez, there will be goals. I’d also expect a few moments of giving it away or conceding a goal while they get up to speed.

Ruben Neves (Wolves/Getty)

There is also the need for additions in defence. Even if everyone’s fit, Willy Boly has picked up a few knocks in recent years, those outside centre-halves need pace with the way they want to play.

I think they need a more dynamic midfielder. Neves and Moutinho are excellent ball-players, but somebody to drive through the team with athleticism, almost like when they had Alfred N’Diaye or an Etienne Capoue, who can carry the ball with presence. Dendonker does it to a degree but they need more in both boxes from him.

Up front is difficult – you always want to bring a striker in but they aren’t going to play if Raul’s fit.

It’s hard to get the quality, that’s why they went younger with Fabio Silva to play a bit part. It’s always difficult to get a quality striker to play second-fiddle.

If anything, I’d look more for the outside, winger positions. Trincao has come in and will take time to get used to things, he hasn’t really lit up pre-season yet.

Adama’s on the other side but I do think we need a bit more help with Neto coming back from the bad injury.

Somebody who could play across all three of those front positions would be an target for me. I’d also like to mention Morgan Gibbs-White, he’s had a good pre-season and has been pushing up but I still feel Morgan’s a better central midfielder.

He’s young, so naturally he’ll be pushed forward, but Morgan can grow into a more mature, disciplined midfielder, I think his long-term future is in the No.8 role.

It is no easy start. Leicester, Spurs and United... it would be great to get positive results, but if you lose them, or only draw one, there will always be that pressure, which is unfair and not what he’d want – it was always going to be difficult for whoever took over from Nuno, because he was more than just a manager.

Look at all he did for the club, city and community.

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