Roberto Martinez believes Wolves’ attacking duo of Raul Jimenez and Adama Traore are at home at Molineux and have become ‘different players’ since putting on the gold and black.
The former midfielder, who has been head coach of Belgium for the past four years, was part of Amazon Prime Video’s punditry team covering Wolves’ match with Manchester City, and has been impressed with how Traore has become a dominant force in the Premier League, while Jimenez has found the ‘perfect’ club for him.
On Wolves and Jimenez being a ‘perfect fit’
“He’s played every Premier League game since Wolves got promoted, which is an incredible stat, but more importantly, he has found his club.
“I think it’s a perfect fit. He’s a number nine who is having the best moment of his career after travelling to Spain, he was then in Benfica, but something was always missing.”
On Jimenez’s qualities
“He’s already played more than 80 games for a national team like Mexico, and I remember two years ago we [Belgium] played him and he had everything. He’s good in the air, he’s someone who can move well and you can see how well he can link with his team-mates up front.
“I think he’s benefited from the position of Adama Traore, but in other games, he’s been clever enough to get into the wide areas, sometimes as a winger, and he then becomes the one who can make the assists.
“He’s a footballer who has found that perfect niche; he’s great when he faces a chance, he’s very, very clever with his feet and at assessing what’s happening in the box and knows how to pull away from the direction of the ball to find space, and is a real clinical finisher when he gets in close positions.
“He’s 28 and is a player that has now been given the important role of leading a team that’s in Europe, so he will want to achieve big things and that’s coming into fruition and you’ve seen a different side to him.”
On the attacking threat of Traore
“Adama Traore and Raul Jimenez are the biggest goalscoring threat that Wolves bring. Traore is one of the most powerful footballers in the Premier League, the way he has the space, and he has a very good understanding with Jimenez.
“You can see how he drops a little bit, and from that position, he is unstoppable. You can understand about his technique and skill, but now, this year, he’s opened his game up and has been able to do it on the biggest stages.”
On Traore’s Barcelona background
“He’s a very interesting player because he was brought up in Barcelona, and in Barcelona, they tell you to stand still.
“As a winger, you want to be wide to receive the ball and then move, and that doesn’t help Adama Traore’s way of playing. When he came to English football with Aston Villa and Middlesbrough, it impacted on the way he could affect the game, because he was waiting for the other ten players to tell him when and when not to.
“Adama this season has used the pace, playing for a time as a wing-back has given him the opportunity to learn, and to arrive into spaces, to be always on the move, and now he is a much better player for it.
“He’s still only young, but he’s got a lot of experience and he’s a joy to watch at the moment because he’s a different player.”