It’s not just players and coaches that are responsible for the remarkable uprise of Wolves in the past few years, it takes a huge group effort throughout the many employees at the club.
That being said, one of the key unsung heroes in the Nuno revolution has been Phil Hayward, the club’s head of sports science for the past 11 years, who has now officially left the club to take up a similar role for LA Galaxy in the USA.
Despite no announcement being made by either club yet, Hayward was seen being snapped by the LA Times alongside their new signing Javier Hernandez, all but confirming the rumours.
Furthermore, as of today, the club has confirmed that he has exited the club, but has not confirmed his destination.
Sporting director Kevin Thelwell paid tribute to the departing employee, praising his achievements and commitment to the club.
He said (via the Express and Star): “Phil has given an incredible level of service to Wolves over his 11-and-a-half years at the club, including some notable achievements, not least leading the team as they attained the Premier League all-time record for low injury rates in the 2018/19 season.
“Phil has put together an exceptional medical and sports science team at Compton over the years, and the expertise now contained within the department will give us a real platform for sustained success moving forwards.”
How will the club get on at Old Trafford?
While fans and pundits alike often talk about the ‘luck’ of injuries, you have to ponder why Wolves – a recently promoted club battling it out towards the top of the Premier League and in the knockout stages of the Europa League – seem to pick up very few injuries, despite a fairly small squad.
So far this season, six of the team has managed to feature in every single Premier League game this season in Conor Coady, Leander Dendoncker, Raul Jimenez, Ruben Neves, Rui Patricio and even 33-year-old Joao Moutinho, plus Jonny Castro and Adama Traore have just missed one. If you extend that to the Europa League, Coady, Moutinho and Dendoncker have played every match in the group stage of that competition as well.
When you consider Newcastle currently have 10 injuries – including some important first-teamers – for whatever reason, Wolves have managed to steer clear of having regular injuries to important players for the majority of their tenure in the Premier League. Currently, Ruben Vinagre is the only injury in the squad at the moment; in the whole division, only Sheffield United have a tally as low as that.
While luck has a part to play, the medical staff at the club undoubtedly credit for this, and fans will be hoping that the next person to take his role can continue this impressive injury record.
If it doesn’t, then the club could find themselves in a lot of trouble as they try to fight it out in two incredibly competitive competitions over the next few months.
With Wolves having a small squad, injuries to players such as Raul Jimenez, Adama Traore, Joao Moutinho or Matt Doherty could be hugely consequential and force them to use solutions such as playing players out of position to make up for it.