Kenny Jackett believes Wolves’ most experienced players will have the knowledge and know-how to continue to bring on the club’s young talent and help the team on their return to the Sky Bet Championship.
Players like skipper Samuel Ricketts, Carl Ikeme, Richard Stearman and Dave Edwards all boast experience at that level and also above, whilst Jackett also views Danny Batth as a leader when it comes to being out on the pitch.
Stearman and Edwards are both out of contract at the end of next month, but Jackett has already strongly hinted at trying to keep both at Molineux if possible.
“Quite often when you move senior players out, there becomes a space for someone else,” says Jackett.
“At 26, I would suggest Richard Stearman knows enough – he has been here through good times and bad times and is a good player.
“And in a position where you do need to lead – centre back – it’s a big position.
“Carl Ikeme was understudy for Wayne Hennessey for quite a long time and it’s now his shirt and his club, and Stearman the same.
“Dave Edwards is a similar age and has played in good and bad Wolves teams in various divisions and has a lot of experience.
“He’s a very good professional and is very good around the place, and all of these are generally very well thought of as a people.
“So as senior players go, the older ones need to assume the responsibility, and it does happen.
“Now, as they develop, they have to stand up and be counted and lead the club.
“Danny Batth is a little bit younger but, as senior professionals move out, there is space for someone’s personality to develop.
“My job is to make sure it’s the right personality and that it does develop in the correct way.
“But there are opportunities for that group and I’d suggest Sam Ricketts already assumes it, but the goalkeeper and two centre backs need to be leaders.”
Jackett meanwhile says he will be assessing the squad’s younger players and those out on loan both prior to and during pre-season as he shapes his plans for the new campaign.
Wolves have a host of players out on loan, many of whom are unlikely to be in Jackett’s plans, and he says their situations will become clearer closer to the time the team returns for pre-season training.
Those younger players who have been out on loan this season will be monitored as they return to see whether they will be considered ready to make the step-up to the Championship.
“It very much depends on how many come back and where they are individually, said Jackett.
“There are a lot of them that are quite individual cases: Cassidy, Iorfa, Ismail - the younger group coming back.
“If one of those changes and we think: ‘He looks a man, he didn’t look that before’ ... but anyway the young players on loan is one group, the foreign players is another and then the ones who are out on loan: Roger, Kevin Doyle and Stephen Ward - those guys who are all good enough to get clubs. “Do they come back here back nobody has come in for them?
“So almost every individual will be judged.
“I’ve got in my head where we are and, speaking to the people I work for, if we start on June 25th, we could almost leave that until June 18th or June 20th.
“If I assess the situation a week before we come back, I think then we will have a clearer view. Up until then I think I will be speculating on everybody else.”