The young Wolves players have followed in the footsteps of their senior colleagues by achieving success in China, bringing home the Zibo International Cup.
Steve Davis led a Wolves Academy side in the fourth edition of the week-long under-17 competition, which saw his team play three matches against clubs from across Asia at the Zibo Sports Centre in Eastern China.
Arriving in China on Monday, the young players enjoyed an opening ceremony at the Linzi Football Museum, before getting their first match of the four-team tournament underway on Wednesday.
Wolves entertained Japanese side Kashima Antlers in their opening fixture, with right wing-back Jack Scott netting both of Wolves’ goals in a 2-0 victory. With the scores level at half-time, Scott struck after 64 minutes to put his side ahead, before securing the win just 11 minutes later.
Davis’ side were back in action in their second of three matches two days later when they faced Ulsan Hyundai FC of South Korea.
Friday’s match finished 3-0 to Wolves, with forward Theo Corbeanu – a member of the senior squad who travelled to Shanghai and Nanjing in pre-season to lift the Premier League Asia Trophy – netting twice in the first-half, while left wing-back Hugo Bueno added a third on 54 minutes.
With Saturday morning giving the players a chance to relax ahead of afternoon training in preparation for their final game of the competition, the young Wolves players spent time visiting the Museum of Ceramics before getting down to business ahead Sunday’s crucial match.
In the tournament closer, Wolves faced Chinese side Hebei China Fortune, knowing a win would see them lift the title.
Following their 2-0 and 3-0 wins, Wolves went one better and took their final match 4-0 thanks to another goal from Corbanu, who opened the scoring after 11 minutes. The Academy team had to wait until the 70th minute for their second of the contest, but two quick Jaden Forrester goals put Wolves in a commanding lead.
With just one minute to go in the match, Lee Harkin popped up to put the cherry on top of what was another thrilling week of football on China for Wolves, who ended the tournament with nine goals without conceding.
The week ended with a closing ceremony where the prizes were handed out to Corbeanu for finishing as the competition’s top goalscorer, while Wolves captain Luke Cundle – who last week signed his first professional deal with the club ahead of flying out to China – was named the player of the tournament.
It’s now a quick turnaround for the squad, who arrive back in the UK on Monday night, as they face an U18 Premier League Cup tie at Chelsea’s Cobham Training Ground on Wednesday at 2pm.