Upson: Wolves have foundations to be a top four club

Matthew Upson believes Wolves can once again become one of the best football clubs in the country if plans to develop both on and off the pitch are done in the right way.

The former England and West Ham defender is one of several BBC Sport pundits who have spoken recently about how Wolves is performing in the Premier League, as well as the ambitions of the club’s supporters and owners Fosun.

On Fosun’s ambitions

“I think what they’re aiming for is possible. Why not? With the right investment, the right manager, the right structure, the right sequencing.

“Can Wolves match Manchester United in terms of global appeal? Probably not. But in terms of getting the right foundations in place to have a top four club, in time, I think is possible.

“But I wouldn’t write that off in any club if it was done in the right manner and they have the right people involved.”

On Nuno’s system

“It’s not easy for players to switch into that ‘back five’ system, but Wolves have kept it the same throughout Nuno’s time there. He’s drilling the formation into the players and it’s always three at the back with two wing-backs and that brings total stability.

“The back three have barely missed a game, I know Boly missed the Leicester game with his suspension which I thought he was really unfortunate with, but they’ve all been magnificent really.

All three of them have adapted really well to the Premier League and the system the manager has clearly suits those three players, and it’s working for the rest of the team.”

On Coady and Bennett’s England chances

“I’m sure they’re both being looked at by Gareth [Southgate]. Coady, in particular, who’s only 25. Bennett’s a bit older at 28, but it’s still not old, so I’m sure they’re both being watched.

“Handling the ball as much as they can and showing they can play with the ball at their feet is the next step for them. Showing that they’ve got the ability to be international class – taking the ball, passing the ball and making key decisions is the next level for both of them.

“When you get onto that international scene you have to show your ability more often.”

On Premier League expectations

“Wolves have bought some good players, invested a bit of money, and they’ve got a manager who’s found a solution, a formation and a style which really suits his players.

“The only question mark is their home form, which is why the Leicester game was so interesting as both teams had picked up more points on the road, which is unusual.

“I don’t know what that’s down to. The team and the players cope very well under intense pressure, so maybe away from home, their counter-attacking and the pace they have in the wide areas actually suits them. I was at Wembley for the Spurs game and it was exactly that.

“Spurs dominated a lot of the game, especially in the first half, but Wolves just hung in there and when the moment was right they pounced with great pace whenever there was any space.

“The game suited their style, but it’s hard to play like that at home. The supporters want you to dominate possession more and you feel obliged to because it’s your home turf.”

On selection consistency

“They’ve had the least amount of players selected all season, they’ve had the least amount of injuries, and the most successful teams keep very consistent teams and formations. I know that might be difficult for the players who are on the fringes to handle, but I think the players who are playing have been really important.

“I feel the manage has dealt with that well and the spine of the team has been very consistent.

“Maybe the wide players might occasionally switch, and there’s been changes in the midfield every now and then, but the goalkeeper, the back three, and the centre forward – that real spine of the team – has stayed the same.

“I like the way Wolves play, they try to play football the right way, and a lot of their attacking play comes from wide areas. They’ve got good attacking wide players with pace. I’ve been impressed.”

Other footballing stars and BBC pundits who have had their say on Wolves’ season so far include: