2024/25 Wolves Academy scholars inducted

Wolves have inducted 14 full-time academy scholars into their programme ahead of the 2024/25 season.

In an event held at Molineux last weekend, the players and their parents met with academy coaching and administration staff to hear about the full-time programme they will be following over the two years of their scholarship, with the ultimate aim of earning their first professional contract.

A number of the players, all aged 16 by September, have progressed through the ranks at Compton Park in recent years, while there are also some fresh faces ahead of the new campaign.

Emilio Ballard-Matthews, Reiss Bowen, Ryan Colesby, Myles Dayman, Josh Gidaree, Josh Gracey, Mateus Mane, Bjorn Marwa, Wes Okoduwa, David Osifo, Luke Rawlings, Max Ruddock, Alfie White and Jake Wilcox have all put pen to paper on two-year scholarships.

Academy manager for football, Jon Hunter-Barrett, said: “I’m really excited about this year’s cohort. It’s a group combined of players who have come through the journey from our initial intake at under-8s and then others brought into the programme from local recruitment. We’ve also brought players into the group post-14 which has been a massive part of our overall strategy – combining the two recruitment departments and being able to form really competitive groups.

“It’s always important to see those who have been here a long time come through and then be rewarded with a scholarship at a category one Premier League club. Equally, it’s just as exciting being able to identify and recruit players coming into the programme and providing them with an opportunity to show us what they’re about and prove their ability.

“The key for them is going to be to challenge each other every single day. We talked a lot in our induction about high challenge and high support. We’re going to challenge them and we want them to challenge each other but, around it, there’s going to be a lot of support from our team on and off the pitch.”

Hunter-Barrett has given his view on the youngsters who have been enrolled as scholars:

Emilio Ballard-Matthews

Position: Attacking midfielder, wide midfielder

Place of birth: Westminster

“Emilio was recruited into the programme from Watford within the last 18 months. He made the transition up to us and came into our full-time education and football programme. He’s quite a tricky, creative, clever attacking player. He made an appearance on the first-team bench last season in the cup because we felt that was a really good opportunity for him. He can play as a 10, as a seven, as an 11 and can also play as a nine and knows where the back of the net is as well.”

Reiss Bowen 

Position: Forward

Place of birth: Blackpool

“Reiss was recruited at the end of under-15s level from Fleetwood Town having spent some time around their first-team. As a centre forward, he’s very dynamic, very quick and has a good level of ball management skills. His finishing in front of goal is excellent. He suffered a little bit of a setback with an injury last season, but is now back out on the grass and we’re looking forward to seeing him across pre-season as we build him back up again.”

Ryan Colesby

Position: Attacking midfielder

Place of birth: Solihull

“Ryan was recruited into our academy at under-10s from the local area after playing in a grassroots tournament. He’s quite a clever, creative and technical attacking midfield player who can also play in deeper areas. He’s predominantly left footed, is quite a strong personality and loves football.” 

Myles Dayman

Position: Right-back

Place of birth: Solihull

“Myles first came into the programme at under-12s after spending his foundation phase with Birmingham City. He plays a multiple amount of positions, can play off both feet, is quite a versatile player who has a lot of athletic qualities and consistency within his performances. He has a humorous personality and is a well-liked member by his peers.”

Josh Gidaree

Position: Centre back

Place of birth: Brent

“Josh joined us at under-15s through our national recruitment department. He is a strong member of the group and has had a big impact. He’s an athletic centre back who really enjoys defending. He’s really keen on improving and is a member of the group who likes self-directed learning so is quite keen to improve himself with lots of individual work.”

Josh Gracey

Position: Goalkeeper

Place of birth: Portadown

“Josh recently joined us from Glenavon and is a very young and promising goalkeeper who will make the transition into our group and over the coming months, we’ll get to know him more. We’ll then be able to work out areas where we can really support and aid his development further.”

Mateus Mane

Position: Centre forward

Place of birth: Lisbon

“Mateus is quite an exciting attacking player. I’d best describe him by saying he’s got a ruthless mindset when it comes to his attacking qualities. He loves having the ball at his feet, being in a one v one situation and has also got the ability to stretch and run in behind when needed. He knows where the back of the net is and has represented Portugal already – a lot has happened to him in a short period of time and it’s our job to support the growth further.”

Bjorn Marwa 

Position: Attacking midfielder

Place of birth: Ilford

“Bjorn is a boy who was recruited into our programme at under-14s. He’s very technical, has a high-level of ball manipulation skills and has a strong, infectious personality and character. He has a lot of internal drive to improve and become better which allows him to be fearless in his approach to develop relationships with staff and his peers.”

Wes Okoduwa

Position: Right-back

Place of birth: New York

“Wes has come right the way through the programme having been recommended to us by one of our local scouts. Predominantly, in the junior side of the academy, he played as a wide midfield player and then transitioned to be a right-back at under-15s and has also played a lot at left-back. Athletically, he’s outstanding and his qualities are defensive one v one situations, really defending and getting close to people. He also poses attacking qualities in the opposition half as well.”

David Osifo

Position: Left-back

Place of birth: Wien

“David came through our local recruitment department and has been here quite a long time. He’s a left-back but can also play as a left-sided centre back. He has a high level of technique and quality which he poses on the ball. He has ability to dribble past players, pass past players and has improved a lot with his defensive qualities.”

Luke Rawlings

Position: Midfielder

Place of birth: Tokyo

“Luke’s an exciting and versatile midfield player who has a creative mindset and came in at the age of 13. He can play six, eight and has also played as a 10. He can dribble past players, pass past players and also has an eye for the spectacular goal. His impact on the programme across 16s and 18s last season has been excellent.”

Max Ruddock

Position: Centre back, left-back

Place of birth: Leeds

“Max was recruited into the programme within the last 18 months to two years from Bradford City. He’s a versatile defender, has a lot of attacking qualities and attributes, is a good shape and size, excellent personality and has good work ethic. He is well-liked by his teammates and staff and a valuable member of the squad.”

Alfie White

Position: Midfielder, centre back, right-back

Place of birth: Telford

“Alfie’s been with us since under-8s right the way through the programme. He’s another versatile defensive midfield player who can also play right-back and centre back. He’s a good shape and size, has athletic qualities and is a consistent personality and member of the group.”

Jake Wilcox

Position: Midfielder

Place of birth: Shrewsbury

“Jake’s been with us since under-8s right the way through – from the pre-academy right the way through the programme. He’s a very sharp, agile midfield player who can play in deeper areas, attacking areas, wide or as a nine. He’s comfortable playing off both feet and is a strong personality who is always keen to improve and develop.”