Having joined Wolverhampton Wanderers in an initial £10m move back in the summer of 2020, Ki-Jana Hoever may not have progressed as quickly as many had initially expected at the time of his signing.
Indeed, under the management of Nuno Espirito Santo last season, the 19-year-old was handed just five starts in the Premier League, making a further seven appearances from the bench.
Although, despite this lack of game time, the £6.3m-rated man nevertheless managed to turn in a number of impressive performances for the club – most notably in the 2-1 win over Brighton & Hove Albion back in May, in which the teenager earned a SofaScore match rating of 7.1, as well as the 2-0 loss to Tottenham Hotspur in the subsequent fixture, in which Hoever received a match rating of 7.0.
However, upon Bruno Lage’s appointment at Molineux this summer, the £40k-per-week right-back has once again seen his first-team opportunities limited, with the 46-year-old manager handing the teenager just one start in the league, in addition to two more appearances as a substitute.
This continued lack of game time is somewhat surprising, as the defender once again impressed in his solo start, making one key pass, two interceptions, four tackles, completing two dribbles and winning 10 duels in the club’s 1-0 defeat to Leicester City, with these returns seeing the 19-year-old earn a SofaScore match rating of 7.4.
As such, considering the fact that, when handed the opportunity of a starting spot, Hoever has more often than not turned in an impressive performance, it would appear highly advisable for Lage to place his trust in the Netherlands U21, or else the 46-year-old risks slowing the former Liverpool man’s progression in senior football.
And, with the Reds academy director Alex Inglethorpe stating his belief that the youngster is an “outstanding talent” who boasts “serious potential” to become “a top player”, it would very much appear as if Hoever has the ability to make a real impact in the Wolves first-team, all he needs is a chance to do so.