Last season was mooted as Joao Moutinho’s final as a regular in the Wolves XI.
Indeed, had Bruno Lage acquired summer target Renato Sanches in the transfer window, that claim may have become a reality for the Portuguese maestro.
At the age of 35, Moutinho’s legs are growing older and on paper, should struggle with the pace of the frantic Premier League.
However, he’s begun the new campaign in wonderful form for the Old Gold. Immediately the Portugal international has become one of the most important players for Lage.
He and Ruben Neves ran the show against Spurs for example as the veteran midfielder registered three key passes and completed two key passes.
When his last campaign at Wolves does come remains to be seen but they may already have the midfielder’s heir in waiting already in the Molineux set-up.
We’re talking about Luke Cundle, a 19-year-old who is already modelling his style of play on Moutinho.
In an interview with the official website, Cundle was asked who he was trying to replicate: “Joao Moutinho,” he responded. “When I train with the first-team, he has a lot of energy and is really enthusiastic. He’s always trying his best to win.”
The teenager added: “I admire the way he plays, his work ethic and his professionalism on and off the pitch.”
Those comments have been supplemented by The Athletic’s Tim Spiers who called him a player in the ‘Moutinho mould.’
It’s easy to see why too. Against Wigan in the EFL Trophy last month, the midfielder made four tackles, three key passes and produced 104 touches.
Capable of dictating the tempo of a match, Cundle has plenty of tools at his disposal to make it in the senior game.
Speaking about his best attributes, Wolves U23 boss James Collins hailed his footballing brain: “With Cundle, I’m making a sub and about to tell the sub what I want him to do on the pitch, and I can already hear him telling the sub before I can, so it’s a real pleasing thing when you have intelligent footballers out there.”
He has played just twice for the Wolves first team but based on that review, further opportunities could emerge in the not too distant future.
Lage has already picked him multiple times on the bench in the Premier League this season so he is clearly on the radar.