Wolverhampton Wanderers are yet to appoint a new permanent successor to Bruno Lage, although in the meantime interim boss Steve Davis has impressively held the fort alongside James Collins, notably guiding the Midlands side to a 1-0 victory over Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
That triumph saw 20-year-old starlet Joe Hodge handed his second senior appearance as a late substitute at Molineux, with the former Manchester City youth product having previously sparkled on debut a week earlier in the defeat to Chelsea.
The diminutive ace was subsequently lauded for that “tenacious, brave and technical” display at Stamford Bridge, as per journalist Liam Keen, having more than taken his chance against such elite opposition.
The Republic of Ireland youth international is part of an emerging crop of young talent that is currently enjoying a taste of life in the first team, with Chem Campbell and Hugo Bueno also having been involved so far this term.
As such, any new appointment will be welcomed by a hugely exciting pool of youngsters just waiting to be properly unleashed on the Premier League stage, with the answer to the club’s early season woes potentially lying in the academy set-up.
One figure who is still waiting for his chance in the senior ranks is 18-year-old, Tyler Roberts, with the explosive winger having caught the eye with his dynamic displays at youth level in recent years.
The promising teen has recently been promoted to the club’s U21 side after scoring 16 goals and providing four assists in just 37 games for the U18s, having signed his first professional contract with the club back in November.
The Jamaica youth international had notably been praised by the aforementioned Davis for his display during last season’s FA Youth Cup defeat to Manchester United, noting his ability to “have an impact” on games after moving into a right-wing berth.
Such quality has been particularly evident during this season’s EFL Trophy, with the ‘rapid’ forward – as described by the Express & Star‘s Keen – scoring in the 2-1 victory over Stockport County last month, having looked a ‘cut above’ on the night.
The Walsall-born menace was also a key figure in the win over Shrewsbury Town in the same competition back in August, producing a tireless and energetic display down the right flank in the second half, attempting seven dribbles and winning three fouls with the home side unable to live with his sheer speed and directness.
Such attributes could well be attractive for whichever new figure does eventually replace Lage in the hot seat, with Roberts certainly one asset who the club can strike gold on if they hand him a first-team berth moving forward.