Traore shines on and of the pitch

Six goals in all competitions, including the two which saw off reigning champions Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.

Twelve Premier League assists, 75 shots on goal and no fewer than 34 opposition players booked for fouling him during the season.

Not to mention countless others who suffered sleepless nights, torrid afternoons or evenings across the country having had – quite literally – to see the back of him for 90 minutes or more.

Yes it was quite a 2019/20 season for Adama Traore.

But where it was equally valuable and beneficial, where he also put smiles on faces and helped give a boost to those who needed it, was via his efforts off the pitch for Wolves Foundation.

All of the Wolves playing squad are excellent in providing support for the Foundation’s various community projects, including taking an active part in a number of events and projects during the year.

As part of the club’s annual End of Season awards, this year staged ‘virtually’ for the first time due to the Covid-19 pandemic, one player is selected as the Foundation’s Player of the Season, an award supported by the Professional Footballers Association.

Previous winners have included Dave Edwards and John Ruddy, and this year it was the turn of 24-year-old Traore.

“We receive great support from the players across all our Foundation projects, so this award is given to someone who has maybe just gone above and beyond or stood out a little bit amongst that fantastic overall support,” said head of the Wolves Foundation, Will Clowes.

“When we were discussing this year’s candidates with staff and spoke to our trustees, Adama was the name which constantly kept cropping up.

“He has supported a lot of our projects this year and we all get the sense that he has such a personal interest in the people that he meets.

“He takes a lot of time to understand firstly the reasons why they are on a particular project, and then to give them as much help, advice and support as he can.”

So whether it was spinning around in a powered wheelchair to the delight of disabled youngsters watching on, or leading a birthday serenade for an equally appreciative patient at Compton Care, Traore was always engaged and keen to both interact and entertain during his work with the Foundation.

Clowes recalls one particular visit where he also made a real connection in line with the Foundation’s ethos of creating opportunities and changing lives.

“Adama visited one of our education projects, the National Citizen Service, a group of 14, 15 and 16-year-olds, and as soon as he walked into the room to meet them, he just had this great presence,” he explains.

“The young people had only ever really seen him on television before or on computer games, but he was able to really connect with them so easily and get into the detail of what they were talking about.

“He spoke very honestly and openly about the trials and tribulations of his career, and showed a natural ability to connect with the young people.

“He clearly made a very good impact on the pitch for Wolves this season, and is very much at ease in his surroundings off the pitch as well, and has made an excellent contribution to the Foundation to make him a thoroughly deserving recipient of our award.”

As mentioned, Traore may have won the award but all of the squad played their part in the Foundation’s projects over the extended season, with many, including Ruddy and captain Conor Coady, also getting involved in ‘virtual’ activities during lockdown.

And with the new season now just around the corner, the players will once again be ready to offer their support to the Foundation where possible, and inspire participants involved in their projects to reach even greater heights.