Four who could shine in Bruno Lage’s new Wolves system

With Bruno Lage’s new attacking style will come questions over how the current crop of players handle it.

Raul Jimenez and Fabio Silva (Getty/Wolves)
Raul Jimenez and Fabio Silva (Getty/Wolves)

Supporters only saw a glimpse of what the new boss wants from his side in the first pre-season friendly against Crewe – as he opted for a 4-4-2 formation and an aggressive press with a high defensive line.

That style will develop over time and be far clearer by the time the Premier League season gets under way, but with a small peek at what is to come it remains to be seen who of the club’s current stars could thrive.

Here, are four players who could benefit from the new Wolves way.

Jose Sa

Olympiakos goalkeeper Pedro Jose Sa.

The goalkeeper teamed up with the squad yesterday when they arrived in Spain for their training camp and all eyes will be on him to fill the void left by Rui Patricio.

Although some fans were disappointed to see Portugal’s number one leave and then replaced by a goalkeeper yet to earn a senior cap for his country, the move could benefit Lage’s philosophy.

Patricio is not poor with the ball at his feet, but it is fair to say that it is not one of his biggest strengths.

On several occasions, particularly in his first season at Molineux, he frustrated with his wayward kicking.

The new style seems to show the two centre-backs splitting and pushing wide, which would allow the goalkeeper to act as a sweeper and essentially another outfield player – similar to how Ederson plays at Manchester City.

On the face of it that will suit Sa, who has shown at Olympiacos that he can play with the ball far better than Patricio.

Rayan Ait-Nouri

Rayan Ait-Nouri (Getty/Wolves)

With the centre-backs splitting that allows the full-backs to push wide and further forward and, in turn, support the forwards.

That must be music to Ait-Nouri’s ears who, in his first season with Wolves, proved a useful attacking force at wing-back.

Although his defending improved over the course of the campaign, the Frenchman is still a work in progress in that department.

So Lage’s style could prove effective with Ait-Nouri providing the required attacking support, as well as the energetic pressing.

Ait-Nouri’s spell at left-wing against Crewe was likely down to a lack of first-team players – he will surely become a left-back option once the season gets under way.

Ruben Neves

Ruben Neves of Wolverhampton Wanderers reacts. (AMA)

Neves may be the topic of transfer speculation, as he is most summers, but if he does stay with Wolves he could be Lage’s key cog.

But his role will largely depend on who his midfield partner is.

In this new system it’s likely we’ll see one midfield anchor, who stays deeper, and one with the licence to roam forward when appropriate.

With the centre-backs splitting, Neves could drop deep, pick the ball up and spray passes around with ease.

Or, if his midfield partner is more disciplined, he could affect play further up field and get into shooting positions.

Either way, Neves could be perfect for this new system if utilised in the right way.

Fabio Silva

Fabio Silva (Wolves/Getty)

Silva already looks to have bulked up slightly as he prepares for a second season in the Premier League.

But more importantly, playing with a strike-partner will serve him well.

When he was thrust into the limelight following Raul Jimenez’s injury, he struggled at first to adapt to playing in a front three as a lone striker.

Having someone alongside him – most likely Jimenez – will allow him to make those runs in behind that he is so good at it.

Jimenez, too, is brilliant at linking play and it is just a matter of time before the pair link up for their first goals as a goalscoring duo.

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