While things at Wolverhampton Wanderers appear to very much be on the up in recent months, with Bruno Lage’s side picking up a highly impressive 16 points from a possible 20 over their last seven Premier League fixtures, there are nevertheless a couple of issues at Molineux that will be a cause for concern amongst fans.
Indeed, with Morgan Gibbs-White being sent out on loan at the start of the season and Bruno Jordao still being sidelined due to injury, the 45-year-old manager currently has just three options to choose from in the middle of the park – Ruben Neves, Leander Dendoncker and Joao Moutinho.
And, with December soon upon us – famously the most hectic period of the Premier League calendar – should either of this trio pick up an injury or suspension, Lage’s lack of choice in central midfield could well derail Wolves’ push to secure European football come next May rather quickly.
However, the Portuguese manager may well possess a ready-made solution to this potential middle of the park Christmas crisis – in the shape of 19-year-old Luke Cundle.
It is easy to see why expectations of those at Wolves are so high for Cundle, as the teenager has continually impressed during his progression through the club’s youth ranks.
Indeed, over his 41 appearances for the U18 side, the central midfielder scored four goals and registered four assists, while, over his 43 fixtures after being promoted to James Collins’ U23 side, the youngster has bagged four goals and nine assists, as well as being made the captain of the team.
The latest of these goals for the U23s came on Friday evening, with the teenager scoring a stunning 73rd-minute winner for his side – playing a one-two with a teammate on the edge of the opposition penalty area, before jinking through a number of defenders and driving powerfully home – in a 2-1 Premier League 2 victory over Birmingham City.
Following this result, Collins was full of praise for his captain, stating: “He’s ready for that step up. Whether that’s with our first team or whether that’s a loan, because watching him out there, I thought he was magnificent.
“He’s got an outstanding brain and drives the game, he runs the game and dictates it which is a great skill. He’s intelligent, makes good decisions, can attack and defend and when you first see him, you wonder whether he could be a Premier League player because he’s slight and small.
“But once you’ve worked with him for a bit you can see how much of a good player he is. I’m delighted for him to get his goal because his performance deserved that. I thought everyone did well, but he was a real stand-out.”
Collins’ belief in Cundle’s readiness for first-team football is an opinion that the Express & Star’s Luke Hatfield shares, with the journalist stating of the 19-year-old in an interview with GIVEMESPORT:
“They’re probably looking at who could potentially make an impact at first-team level and I think Luke Cundle is maybe one. He is probably one they are looking at and maybe he could break through if they need cover. If push comes to shove and they need an extra body in their midfield, Luke Cundle is one they may be eyeing up.”
As such, considering the midfielder’s abundance of potential, coupled with Lage’s rather desperate need for reinforcements in the middle of the park, it would seem highly advisable for the 45-year-old to finally unleash the youngster in his first-team, as, with a couple of impressive performances in the top flight, Cundle could well go on to save Jeff Shi and Wolves millions of pounds in January transfer fees.