Academy graduate Ryan Giles has left Wolves to join Luton Town on a permanent deal, ending a 15-year association with the club.
The full-back joined the club’s youth set-up at the age of eight and rose through the ranks to make his senior debut and represent as many as seven clubs out on loan, aiding his development to this point.
Hailing from Telford, Giles impressed at each level of the youth set-up at Compton Park, culminating in him being named Academy Player of the Year in 2018, before he began working with now Luton boss Rob Edwards in Wolves’ under-23s set up.
The following year came Giles’ senior debut in an FA Cup tie at Shrewsbury Town in January 2019, before he became a temporary Shrews player on loan the next summer – the first of a series of EFL loans which helped shape the youngster.
This summer the 23-year-old returned from a spell with Middlesbrough having surpassed the 200 career appearances mark and joined Julen Lopetegui’s pre-season programme in Portugal, featuring in the early pre-season friendlies.
However, Giles’ journey with Wolves comes to a permanent conclusion, as he is reunited with Edwards at Luton, who recently earned promotion to the Premier League.
Sporting director Matt Hobbs said: “Gilo’s been here from such a young age and his development is testament to the boy. He’ll admit he wasn’t always a standout, but a reliable player and personality, and he got the most of out of himself, and now he’s older, he understands the game more and has kicked on.
“It’s a nice move for Gilo to go back to Rob, who knows him well, and knows how to get the best out of him. When he wasn’t going to be part of Julen’s plans, it didn’t feel right to loan him again."
The move sees Giles become the latest academy graduate to earn a move to the top levels of the English game, following Dion Sanderson and a host of youngsters out on loan, which Hobbs believes is testament to the work being put in at Compton Park.
He said: “We’ve seen with Max [Kilman] and Joe [Hodge] that if we give our academy the right players, they’re able to develop them. What Jon’s [Hunter-Barrett] doing on the football side, we have to keep developing that, because if we get the right players as early as possible, we can continue this track record of producing good quality players.
“Now I go to watch Football League games and there’s often a former Wolves player, whether it’s Terry Taylor who’s moved to Charlton, Elliot Watt at Salford, Aaron Hayden with Wrexham, Will Randall – it’s often you’ll see someone from our system, so huge credit to our academy and the work they’re doing.
“Gilo has showed with his performances in the Championship that he deserves this opportunity and I hope he grasps it with both hands.”