Wolves fans could not have asked for more from their team this season, according to former Arsenal and England defender Martin Keown.
The no-nonsense centre-half was covering Wolves’ recent FA Cup victory over Manchester United at Molineux for BBC 5live and shared his thoughts on how far he thinks Nuno Espirito Santo’s side can go this season, as well as why he was not surprised about captain Conor Coady’s omission from the England squad.
Martin, as a former England defender, how impressed have you been with the Wolves defence this season, especially Conor Coady’s role at the heart of the back three?
“Coady’s transitioned from a central midfielder to a defender well, you can see that he’s got that extra quality in possession, he has the height, the physique, can read the game really well and he loves that diagonal pass out to Doherty.
“Both, Coady and Doherty have signed new contracts at the club recently, and rightly so, because the pair of them have done a fantastic job for Wolves.”
Are you surprised that Coady has been overlooked by Gareth Southgate for a place in the England squad for the two internationals this week?
“I’m not surprised. He’s done well but you’re always going to have a group of players who are disappointed. I think that demonstrates the strength and depth that England have in defence at the moment.
“Just a few years ago, as soon as you had 25 good games, even less than that, you were straight in the England team. Maybe he’ll feel aggrieved, but he has to keep playing as he is, keep on challenging, but focus on doing his best to take Wolves as far as he possibly can.
“Then, you never know what will happen in the future.”
How well do you think Wolves have taken to life in the Premier League?
“It’s been a remarkable first season in the Premier League, although they’ve got a team of players who are immensely talented and some of those, never mind the Championship, they could have played in the Champions League last season.
“Getting players from Athletico Madrid, Porto, Benfica, shows the type of level Wolves are aiming at and they’ve all been brilliant acquisitions.
“All that said and done, the manager still has to bring them all together and Nuno has done an amazing job here. The team are seventh in the league, in an FA Cup semi-final, so I don’t think the fans could’ve asked for more.
“Molineux has now got a team worthy of those who have played at this amazing stadium in the glory days. It’s been a long time in the making, Wolves are one of the forming members of the Football League, with all the successes the club has many years ago; no FA Cup win since the 60s, no major trophy since 1980, so fingers crossed they can do it this year.”
You talk about the success that the club has had in the past, do you think this current Wolves side could ever emulate what those teams did?
“It’s one step at a time. Wolves’ Premier League status is well and truly secured and I just feel that the manager will really want to win things with this club.
“If you look at the things he’s won in the past, a Champions League medal, a Europe League medal, he’s won titles as a player – he’s a winner and there’s no time to lose for him, he’ll want success.
“People might have said beating Manchester United was an upset, but I didn’t think it was because if you look at the club’s results already this season – beating Spurs away, drawing with Arsenal, City and United, beating Liverpool and Chelsea at home – these are really good scalps that Wolves have taken, and they deserve respect.”