Dave Edwards: Ruben Neves eclipsed Declan Rice in a phenomenal Wolves performance

I think Ruben Neves has been Wolves’ best player this year.

Ruben Neves of Wolverhampton Wanderers shoots. (Photo by Wolverhampton Wanderers FC/Wolves via Getty Images).
Ruben Neves of Wolverhampton Wanderers shoots. (Photo by Wolverhampton Wanderers FC/Wolves via Getty Images).

He’s been the most consistent. Every time I watch him he dictates how Wolves play.

Max Kilman has been excellent and comes close, but Neves is maturing into a wonderful all-round midfielder.

For the first 15 minutes Declan Rice looked like a Rolls Royce and would control the game, but Neves grew into it and eclipsed him.

It was a real marker of his performance. He gives you everything you’d want in a midfielder.

We all know his technical ability, but I think he’s now brining more physicality into his game. He looked powerful. He broke up play nicely.

It was unfortunate he picked up that second-half booking as it stopped him making those challenges later in the game, but he had to take that booking. It was a good one at the time after Romain Saiss’ hospital pass.

Aside from that he was always in a position to receive the ball and was key to what happened in the goal.

His passing range is absolutely phenomenal. It’s not safe passes either. His passing range matched with his decision making, and what type of pass to hit and when to hit it, is one of the best in the Premier League.

That sounds like a big statement but I think he’s one of the best all-round midfielders in the league at the moment.

He can hurt a team with a ball over the top of through the defence, and he can also switch play to keep the ball moving and keep it safe. He’s in control of everything and dictates the tempo. He’s at another level now.

The biggest problem for Wolves is that they’ll be plenty of suitors for him, but I’m sure he wants to be at Wolves with the ambition they have. They’re heading in a great direction.

On Saturday I was lucky enough to go to the game helping Mikey Burrows with commentary on Wolves TV and I was really optimistic before the game.

Everyone was disappointed with the Crystal Palace game but I always thought Wolves would bounce back after a performance like that.

As I was walking into the stadium I spoke to some old faces I knew and there wasn’t much positivity, everyone said they would take a point! But I was quietly confident and the game played out pretty much how I thought it would.

I knew Wolves would have large spells of possession but my main concern was that West Ham are usually happy for that to happen. They don’t mind sitting deep and they defend ever so well.

I was concerned Wolves leave themselves open and West Ham could attack quickly, but I was impressed with the organisation in defence.

As we got into that final third and moved the ball around, you could see Conor Coady, Romain Saiss and Max Kilman organising and in positions to stop the counter-attack.

Wolves controlled the game and never left themselves open. Barring the opening 15 minutes and last 10, Wolves were very comfortable.

Their intensity was key. West Ham were there for the taking and Wolves looked the fitter and stronger team.

Half-time came at the wrong time but they came out in the second half and went for the jugular. It’s as good as I’ve seen them play this year, they were fantastic.

Wolves got into some good positions but Daniel Podence and Hwang Hee-chan were taking a few too many touches, they needed to put the ball in the box earlier and for the goal that happened.

It was an incredible finish from Raul Jimenez. With everything going on with his excellent documentary, it was fitting to see him score in front of the South Bank.

The celebrations and noise was incredible at that moment.

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