Watching the under-21s beat League Two Stockport in the Papa Johns Trophy was a joy, as James Collins’ well-drilled side showed off their talent and strength.
At no point were they bullied or out-muscled, as they secured their place in the knockout stages.
Several players impressed at Stockport and some are now getting their opportunity with Bruno Lage.
Goalkeeper Jackson Smith, left-back Hugo Bueno and winger Chem Campbell have all been officially promoted to the first team, while Connor Ronan has also remained with the side and welcomed into the fold.
Smith played in pre-season when both Jose Sa and Matija Sarkic were briefly injured at the same time, while Bueno has been named in several Premier League squads and Campbell has come off the bench in the top flight three times – recently making his Molineux debut.
All three players played against Stockport and proved their quality and Lage is delighted to see them make the step up to the first team.
“We are very happy with Jackson and the minutes that he had in the pre-season, and Connor gave me a good impression,” Lage said.
“I spoke with him because I thought he was a little bit anxious and I understand that he felt that this was the last opportunity with us as he’d been here a long time.
“But after speaking to him, now I can see that he’s relaxed, he’s confident and he’s training very well.
“For now, we know with all these guys they can bring competition to our squad. It is so important to have these kinds of players in our academy, to belong in our team and our squad to bring competition.
“With Bueno, I can see the way he is improving. Since my first day here, he started training with us and we can see also the good performances that he’s had in the under-21s.
“And with Chem, at the beginning (of last season) I looked at him for six months and thought to myself ‘maybe he’s just another kid’.
“But after that moment, I can see him as a man. He’s now got more responsibility, more in training, and he’s started this season very well. I’m very happy and he can be a solution.”
Alongside the trio that played at Edgeley Park on Tuesday night, a number of other players impressed.
Rapid winger Tyler Roberts, who this year has moved up from the under-18s, looked a cut above the competition. Ollie Tipton, too, seamlessly transitioned between midfield and defence during the game, while Dexter Lembikisa continues to build on his superb talent.