Seyi Olofinjana believes Wolves’ link with FC Jumilla is proving useful for both clubs, having spent time developing the partnership out in Spain this week.
The former Wolves midfielder now manages the club’s outgoing loans and has particular focus on FC Jumilla after nine players departed Compton for the Spanish third division side during the summer.
Rob Edwards has taken a Wolves Academy squad over to Spain to face their team mates and catch up with Wolves staff, including Olofinjana himself, who was pleased to make contact.
“It’s a big opportunity for Wolves and Jumilla,” he explained. “It happened very quickly during the summer and we sent them nine players, so a lot went into it. It was a big process but we’re getting there.
“Some loanees are getting games and some aren’t. It’s about seeing first-team environments. When you see players go out on loan, it’s not just for football, it’s a life skill too. Teaching them to be independent and self-reliant.
“If this is going to be a long-term link it’s good for the staff to meet each other and see what’s possible in January and going forward. It can be tricky because managers always want more, always want the best players
“It’s our responsibility to make sure they know what this project means to us. The best might not fit into this level, so we might need to keep them at Wolves and a path to the first-team.”
The partnership, which has seen the likes of Ryan Leak and Donovan Wilson spend recent months with FC Jumilla, is an extensive one for Olofinjana, who believes all players involved in the link should take positives from the experience.
“A lot goes into it in terms of looking after the individual. Some are getting games which is why you go out on loan and some are not, but you learn a lot in the process.
“As loans manager, it’s up to you to make sure they’re learning the process. Sometimes when players aren’t playing they switch off, but even if they’re not playing there’s a lot to be learnt - why they’re sitting on the bench.”
Olofinjana has regularly spent time out in Jumilla tracking the progress of Wolves’ players and has ensured they’re back at Compton on occasions to remain part of the Academy set-up.
“Every three months we bring them back for two days, so they can relate to our culture and still know what the Wolves family is all about. A lot of the time we send them out on loan and after six months or a season they come back and look lost.
“We want to keep bringing them back and setting them targets which relate to the football environment that they’re in. When they’re back they get to train with their mates or the first-team and they feel part of the family, because sometimes you can be guilty of sending them out and they look like outcasts.
“We have a WhatsApp group which everyone sends messages to and talks about anything which is bothering them. They’re in touch with the manager and staff, and all the key guys are in contact with the other clubs, so we don’t miss out on anything like medical care.”