On the back of Wolverhampton Wanderers’ successful first season back in the Premier League following our Championship title win last year, executive chairman Jeff Shi is man of the moment with a few appearances in the media this week as he reflects on the 2018/19 campaign and looks ahead optimistically to the future.
With plenty for Wolves fans to celebrate this year, not least the recent reveal about the plans for the Molineux, Shi told the Official Website that whilst we’d obviously be ‘happy’ at European qualification if that became our gift (it did), owing to the increased publicity and reach of the club from operating on that stage, talks had already been held with head coach Nuno Espirito Santo and Wolves won’t necessarily be looking to bolster the senior group with additional players – we would be more inclined to be open to further first team promotion for youngsters to add to our numbers and enable others to rest.
“I have talked with Nuno and he thought the philosophy will be the same. We will still try to keep a small squad and will not think that because we have one more tournament to compete in, we will have to get more players, because if you go out of the tournament early you then have to think about how you deal with them. We will not do this kind of thing, we will still try to keep a short squad – as Nuno wants – but in the meantime, it requires higher quality from our Academy players because sometimes what you need is them; they can step up, they can help the team. If we go to Europe – fingers crossed – I don’t think it will just be about improving the first-team. It’s about improving the squad for our under-23s and under-18s so they will be ready when we need them.”
I’m not entirely sure we won’t grow numbers full stop if European football becomes an option for us, but there’s plenty of sense in letting the competition (allied to FA Cup and EFL Cup) be more of a pathway through for our youngsters.