The 20-year-old’s loan move to PSV should come as little surprise with a lack of game minutes causing all sorts of issues, writes Liam Keen. He played in just 10 games last season and became increasingly frustrated at his limited time on the pitch – resulting in head coach Bruno Lage delivering a brutal dressing down of the youngster, claiming his attitude was poor and he had not prepared correctly for a clash with Crystal Palace – a game he picked up a hamstring injury in.
That fixture came on March 2 and he did not feature again in the remaining months of the season – as he had to settle for a spot on the bench once he came back from injury.
Lage’s delivery was harsh but largely fair. Hoever only turned 20 in January and was behind Nelson Semedo in the pecking order – a player who was playing his best football in a Wolves shirt before his own hamstring injury.
Then, when Hoever had his opportunity, he did not take it. He was poor in the loss away at West Ham the week before and then had a terrible 25 minutes before limping off against Palace.
At a time when he could have jumped at the chance of regular minutes, Hoever fell flat. The frustration at his lack of minutes, according to Lage, came after an impressive performance in the 0-0 against Chelsea in December, which was followed up by two months without playing.
But the Dutchman needs perspective. Semedo was far ahead of him, he is still young and he needed to knuckle down in training – which may have sparked more opportunities. In a similar comment piece from the Express & Star back in March following Lage’s rant, it was claimed that Hoever’s Wolves career was at a crossroads – and it is now up to him which path he takes.
The loan to PSV offers him the chance to return to his homeland, play for a big club with big expectations and play Champions League football. If he plays regularly, it could be the making of him.
Wolves invested £9million in him two years ago, which may rise to £13.5million with add-ons, and he still has three years left on his contract. The club still has high hopes for him and his Wolves career can flourish, if he wants it to.
The defender has shown, in short spells, why he was rated so highly by some of Europe’s biggest clubs and if he can make a success of the 2022/23 season, he could return to Wolves worthy of regular minutes.
In the meantime at Molineux, it will be interesting how the club fill his slot in the squad. Semedo is unlikely to be fit for the start of the season, while Jonny Castro Otto is thought to prefer the left side.
Harry Birtwistle and Dexter Lembikisa are two impressive youngsters but this season will likely be too soon for them. However, the answer may already be in the squad. Although Chiquinho needs work on his defensive duties, he impressed at right-wing-back towards the end of the season and could be a good option while Semedo continues his rehabilitation from his torn hamstring injury.