Wolves Under-21s return to action at the New Bucks Head against Brighton this evening (7pm). Amongst the squad is midfielder Ryan Rainey, who has been speaking to Matt Adams in the build-up to the game.
Wolves midfielder Ryan Rainey has had a great week.
During the international break he’s spent time training with the first team and even played the full 90 minutes in last Friday’s behind closed doors friendly with Liverpool, at the Reds’ Melwood training base.
And despite being on the losing side (Wolves lost 3-2), Rainey acquitted himself well against a Liverpool team that featured Brazilian internationals Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Lucas Leiva.
So what did he make of it all?
“That was a good experience,” he says.
“I was told on the Thursday that it was my chance to impress and to go out and enjoy it and do the best I can.
“It gave me a lot of confidence that they put their trust in me to put me in [the side].
“Hopefully that can continue.”
Then on Monday night there was also the added bonus of watching the Republic of Ireland qualify for next summer’s European Championships in France – a match he watched with fellow Irishman, teammate and housemate Anthony Breslin. So were there any nerves?
“I was fine; he was the opposite,” he says.
“Bres was jumping around the place when they scored, and then when the pressure was coming later on in the game he was still jumping around!”
Rainey’s move to England came about when he was spotted playing for Ireland U16’s in the Galway Cup. And he revealed that he chose Wolves ahead of several other English clubs.
“I was playing in a tournament back in Ireland, it was a good tournament for me as I was captain and we got to the final.
“I didn’t know anyone was watching me.
“I had nine offers to go on trial at clubs in England. But I only went to two, Wolves and Fulham.
“I had a good chat with Mick McCarthy and he got me in here and I was very happy with that. I’ve loved every minute of it.”
Rainey has since represented his country at Under-17 and Under-18 levels and he would love to wear the green shirt again at Under-21 level.
In the meantime, his focus is very much his own future at Wolves as his current deal expires in the summer, and he’s not ruled out gaining first team experience elsewhere before the end of the season.
He said: “I’m just focusing on getting a new contract and getting a first team game here.
“Obviously everyone wants to play for the first team and for their country.
“At the moment I just want to play well and try and get a new contract.
“Clubs might come in in January and take you on loan, and that would be a good opportunity if it happened.”
During his time with Wolves, Rainey has played in central midfield and also at right back. And it’s quite clear which one he prefers as his strengths suit the role.
“Definitely centre midfield. This season I have not played right back at all,” he adds.
“I play number eight and I do a lot of both (attacking and defending).
“I like going forward and making forward runs, I like to stay calm and don’t get rushed in possession.”
After an enthralling week it’s back to Under 21 action for Rainey tonight, as Wolves take on Brighton and Hove Albion tonight at Telford’s New Bucks Head (7pm).
Scott Sellars’ side go in to the match on the back of consecutive wins against Stourbridge (Birmingham Senior Cup) and Derby County (Barclays Under 21s Premier League Cup), and Rainey thinks that they can take that form into the league.
He added: “We’ve not done well in the league so far; we’ve played well but we just haven’t got the wins.
“Hopefully we will start getting them and bring consistency to our league games.”