Winger enjoyed Molineux bow - and now aims for more
As dream debuts go, Connor Hunte was very close to moving up there with the best of them in Tuesday’s game against Bristol City.
The 19-year-old came off the bench on 82 minutes, shortly after City had equalised, and after picking the ball up on halfway promptly set about driving towards the visitors’ goal.
A one-two with Michal Zyro later and there came a left foot shot which was deflected wide of the target.
So not so much a dream debut – albeit a happy one as Matt Doherty sealed victory late on – but certainly a positive first impression from the former Chelsea Academy scholar.
“I really enjoyed it and thought I did o-k when I came on,” Hunte says of his opening Molineux night.
“It was almost the perfect start as well.
“I picked the ball up on the halfway line was just driving and driving and then played a one-two with Zyro.
“I was excited because I’d just come on and so I tried a shot which then went out for a corner.
“Looking back maybe I should have taken the defender on in the box but I think because I’d just come on I was excited and tried the shot.
“I’d never played in front of a crowd of that size before so it is certainly different.”
Hunte, like many of the Under-21 squad, has not only worked closely with Scott Sellars since arriving at Wolves just over 18 months ago, but has also enjoyed opportunities to train with the first team.
And that will have helped him in recent weeks as he found himself elevated to the senior ranks, and an unused substitute in the previous two games before Tuesday night.
“I’d been around the first team group for a while and been on the bench and when you travel with the team that really helps you to get to know everyone,” he explains.
“Obviously with the Under-21s I knew everyone and trained with them every day so being involved with the first team on a matchday is a bit different.
“But the lads have been great with me and helped me settle into it.
“Looking back on the whole season I think I had a bit of a slow start but have been building up ever since.
“Over the last few months I think I have started to play some of my better football and feel like I have been getting stronger and stronger.
“Now I just want to carry on and keep improving.
“When you get a little taste of it you want more and I just need to keep working hard and see if I can get some more minutes.
“It would be great to be in the squad again for the Birmingham game on Sunday and hopefully I can get on.”
Hunte says that everyone in the Under-21 squad has taken inspiration from those others who have burst onto the first team scene in recent years, particularly Kortney Hause, Dominic Iorfa and Jordan Graham.
“It definitely helps you as a young player to see others come through and make the step-up from Under-21s,” he says.
“Especially for me with Jordan Graham, because he plays in my position.
“We saw him playing with us every week earlier in the season and he then comes back from his loan and does really well in the first team.
“When you see something like that it is definitely a good motivation.
“I think we have got a lot of good players in the Under-21s.
“We have also put in a lot of good performances this season but we just struggle to get the results sometimes.
“There is definitely some good quality and drive in the squad and players who have potential.”
It was announced recently that Hunte is among the contingent of the Under-21s who will remain at Molineux next season, with a one-year option taken up on his contract.
“That was good news for me to know I am going to be here next season,” he added.
“I need to keep working hard and hopefully I can keep improving and be in the first team even more next season.”
*Wolves sponsors and local firm Techworx are offering one lucky supporter the opportunity to WIN a signed shirt or ball and to meet two members of the first team squad on the afternoon of Tuesday 15th March 2016.
When you get a little taste of it you want more and I just need to keep working hard and see if I can get some more minutes