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Fernando Marcal: The inside track on Wolves' new defender

By Luke Hatfield | Wolves | Published:

Fernando Marcal is one of the latest Wolves signings - but how much do you know about him?

Fernando Marcal (Photo: Wolves)

To get some more information on the Brazilian, we spoke with French football expert Jeremy Smith.

See what he had to saw about Wolves' new signing here.

What kind of player can Wolves fans expect to see in Fernando Marcal?

In Marcal, Wolves are getting a modern full-back.

In other words - strong, great engine to get up and down the pitch all match, offensively-minded - but not always the soundest defensively.

What would you say are his biggest strengths and weaknesses?

He is versatile (can play at LB or CB), left-footed, full-hearted, can cover the whole flank and has a good cross on him.

He is good in the air and a reasonable tackler. But he can have concentration lapses and often get caught out of position, which can lead to errors, concession of dangerous chances and flying into last-ditch tackles which can get him into trouble.

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Wolves obviously play with three at the back, will Marcal suit this kind of system?

Arguably his performances as a left back have gone backwards in the last year or two, but Lyon have recently - and most notably during their surprising Champions League run - gone to three at the back, and Marcal has looked much more secure on the left side of the three.

He looks reassured by having more defensive support around him, his obligation to curb his attacking side means that he can concentrate more on his defending, and he still has the opportunity to use his good footballing ability to pick a pass and help the team transition to attack.

So he should certainly fit into Wolves' system well.

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It seams a relatively cheap deal for Wolves to do, is this a good deal for the club in your opinion?

As you may have gathered, I am not totally convinced that he is a truly top-level player, and at 31 he is past his best, but two million euros these days is peanuts so yes, for that price it is a very good deal - even if he fails to become a first team regular, that kind of price for an experienced squad player who can do a job in two different positions is a no-brainer.

Do you think Marcal will suit the Premier League, and why?

Defensively - particularly for CBs - I don't see a huge difference between the PL and Ligue 1 - both are physically demanding, with possibly the need to be a better header of the ball in the PL, and more onus to be able to play the ball out in Ligue 1, so as part of a back three I think that he can adjust relatively quickly.

If used as a left back or a wing back, the more frenetic, non-stop, end-to-end nature of the PL may take more adjustment time for him and, at 31, may be a bit of a struggle.

But with his height, strength and physicality, he should be able to fit in - it all depends on those lingering weaknesses - concentration and positioning.

Who would you compare Marcal too in the Premier League or world football?

In terms of full backs who seem to be better at attacking than defending, I'd say he's like almost every other full back nowadays (sorry - it's a bugbear of mine!)!

I'm obviously drawn to French players - if I was being extremely flattering, I'd suggest Pavard or Hernandez, just because they have the same versatility to play as a full back, a wing back or a centre back.

But realistically I'd place him somewhere between Djibril Sidibe and Lucas Digne - better all-round than Sidibe but perhaps not as strong defensively as Digne.

Keep him in a back three though and you should get the best out of him.

You can follow Jeremy on Twitter here.

Luke Hatfield

By Luke Hatfield

Digital Sports Journalist with the Express & Star and Shropshire Star.

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