Wolves are a club making massive strides on and off the pitch, and that has mainly been down to the lofty ambitions of the Chinese conglomerate Fosun, who hold ownership of the club, but recent remarks from U18 head coach Steve Davis spell trouble.
The former Crewe Alexandra and Leyton Orient boss plays a pivotal role in breeding through the next crop at Molineux, something that Fosun would like to ramp up more after investing heavily in the academy setup.
Jeff Shi even described developing young players good enough to help out the first team squad as a “key part of our strategy”.
But the chances of this appear to be very, very slim after Davis spoke out on the prospects of their youngsters progressing from the U18 squad into the first-team.
Speaking on this week’s The Molineux View podcast, he said:
“I think the gap is so big, I think it’s really tough to sort of say at 16/17 that this kid is going to get into the first-team.
“Chem Campbell’s made his debut, the second-youngest to make his debut, at Villa Park, which is no mean feat. But again, he’s got so much to do still.
“He’s only 17, finding his way. U23s, he’s had a taste but he’s still got a lot to do along with Christian [Marques], Luke [Cundle] and there’s other players there that could [make it into the first-team] but it’s such a big, big gap.
“They have so much to do yet in terms of the work and improvement they have to make so it’s very difficult to say this one’s a nailed on one.”
Steve Davis, U18 head coach.
This is hardly encouraging news, but it only goes to show just how much of a task it is to successfully create a club that can build from within.
Players will need to have something really special to make it through the youth ranks into senior stardom, something that has only really been done by Morgan Gibbs-White in recent years.
The 20-year-old has already featured 66 times for the first-team and whilst the likes of Chem Campbell and Benny Ashley-Seal have made similar bows this season, they have plenty more work ahead to become a regular option under Nuno.
In January, the club signed more youth prospects than senior additions as Luke Matheson, Enzo Loiodice and Leonardo Campana all joined.
Fosun clearly want to elevate Wolves onto a new level, but these comments outline just how big that task is.
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