Much has been made of Wolverhampton Wanderers season so far; many have been quick to criticise Nuno Espirito Santo’s side. Yet, the victory over Southampton gave us all a timely reminder of the scintillating Wolves identity- this time led by the always-improving Pedro Neto.
Those at Molineux have struggled to replicate the impact of Raul Jimenez. And, that comes as no surprise. The Mexican is the key to unlocking the free-flowing football we’ve become accustomed to at Wolves since their promotion.
Without his hold up play; link-up ability and connection with Adama Traore Wolves were always going to face an identity crisis. But, in a season with little spark going forward, Portuguese winger Pedro Neto has provided a shining light by following an all too familiar trend at Wolves.
Pedro Neto: Following Trend of Success at Wolves
Replacing Diogo Jota
After Diogo Jota swapped the Midlands for Merseyside in the summer, a replacement at Wolves was needed. So up stepped Pedro Neto. Joining in 2019, it always seemed a certainty he’d eventually play a vital part in Santo’s side.
And, with Jota out of the picture, he had the chance to become one of the Portuguese poster boys; an opportunity he has since taken full grasp of. Last season, we saw glimpses. This season, we have seen further evidence that Neto, like Jota once was at Wolves, is destined for greatness.
At 20, Neto has already had almost two full seasons in the Premier League and does not look out of place among several stars. Even as Adama Traore has struggled, and summer signings such as Fabio Silva have failed when thrown in at the deep end, Neto has excelled.
Some take to the spotlight and capitulate. Neto, like all good players, has welcomed the pressure of the shining light. With each week, he gets better and better with the Southampton display his best yet.
In the first half, Wolves once again struggled to find their identity. By the time the fulltime whistle sounded, Neto had helped rediscover it to end a torrid run of form. His individual goal was something to savour, but, his overall display points towards just how good a player he is.
At St Mary’s, he created three chances, won four duels, made five ball recoveries, completed two take ons and rounded it all off with the winning goal. The goal was scintillating, but the performance proves he is ready for the top.
Following Portuguese Trend
And Neto is following that trend. Jota impressed for several years, proved himself in the Premier League before securing a move to play on the biggest stages at Liverpool.
Neto could, worryingly for Wolves fans, follow the Jota trend. His talent is there for all to see. It’s almost like, with each passing week, he is being moulded into a player set to play for Europe’s best.
Both on and off the ball, at 20, Neto is showing the signs every top player needs to be showing. In his press, off the ball, he is vigorous and tactically astute.
On the ball, his quick feet and sharp turns combined with a growing ability to finish clinically is making him one of the most entertaining players to watch in the Premier League.
With five goals and three assists so far this season, Neto, in a fairly dim season for Wolves, is providing an everlasting shining light.
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