Wolves under-18s will be getting competitive minutes into their legs later this week as they prepare to travel to the north west for the Manchester United U18 Summer Tournament.
Steve Davis’ side has seen their pre-season plans disrupted so far, with almost all their fixtures having been called off due, as they continue to supplement the under-23s in training and in matches.
Covid has also played a part in seeing games against Coventry City and Cardiff City going by the wayside, so the head coach is hoping the Man United tournament, which will see Wolves also take on Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur in a round-robin competition, will give his players some much needed game time ahead of the season getting underway at Sunderland.
On pre-season so far
“It’s been enjoyable, but if anything, we’ve just lacked a bit of game time and haven’t have as much as I would’ve liked, but a lot of that has been out of our hands due to Covid.
“Coventry had a Covid outbreak so couldn’t play, Cardiff were the same, and then the under-23s had their game with Middlesbrough called off for the same problem.
“We’ve also been supplementing the under-23s as half their squad have been with the first-team in Marbella, so we’ve been training together for three weeks now, but our players have been able to get some minutes in their games.”
On training with the under-23s
“Although the players haven’t had as much game time as I would have liked, the training has been good. We had a really good training camp at St George’s Park last week, where there was lots of focus on getting fit and getting ready and doing some classroom stuff as well.
“So they’ve had a lot of variation and they’ve had a lot of exposure to train with some of the 23s who have been here with us.
“Instead of the fixtures we were supposed to have, we had an in-house game last Saturday, which was really good and with high intensity, so our lads got minutes in that.
“But now we’re getting the team together today to start preparing for the tournament at Man United, which begins on Thursday.”
Great Academy representation in Spain yesterday!— Wolves Academy (@WolvesAcademy) July 25, 2021
On facing United, Chelsea and Spurs this week
“We’re playing against three really good teams in a mini league, and then first and second-place go into the final and the teams in third and fourth have a play-off. We’re going to have at least four games over the three days and we want to go as strong as we possibly can in terms of the players we have available.
“But we also want to do what’s right for the player, so if we don’t think that player should go and it would be more beneficial for them to stay with the under-23s, then that’s a decision we will make.
“We’ll go as strong as we can because it’s going to be a very tough tournament.
“But we’re planning to take a mixed group of some second years, most of the first years and a couple of under-16s, as we want to them to have some experience and exposure to this level of football, and hopefully they will all benefit.”
On the 2021/22 U18 PL North fixtures being announced
“The players are definitely excited about the season starting – they always do when the fixtures are announced. Some of them were asking when they were out, and now they are, they can get ready for the season.
“Personally, I only really look at the first couple of games, and don’t really look beyond those until closer to the time.
“We’ve got Sunderland away to begin the season and then Newcastle at home, but now the fixtures are out, it’s the realism that the season is coming upon us quickly, as it always does.
“Pre-season is going by quick and in just over two and a half weeks we’ll be starting, so as long as they’re all ready physically and mentally, we’ll look forward to another season.”