When Wolves manager Mick McCarthy brought Nenad Milijas to the club for around £2.5million in the summer, much was expected of the Serbian midfielder who had become a star with former European and world champions Red Star Belgrade after first appearing on the stage in 2001/2002 with Belgrade based club “Zemun” banging in 22 league goals for the Serbian champions Red Star at a ratio of more then a goal every three games and ending up top scorer at his club Red Star and second top scorer in the Serbian league, he also won the league’s most valuable player award, was voted into the All Star Team and broke into the national team, no mean feet when you think of the brutal man marking he received week in week out in a very physical Serbian league. But been the big cat in a league were his club would win almost week in week out to going into a club and team that had to scrap for points in the worlds strongest league was always going to be a difficult task for any player to adapt to quickly.
But the 5/12/09 was a defining day in Wolverhampton`s bid to survive in the Premier League, Bolton came to Molineux a fellow relegation rival it was a must win the pressure and the black clouds were looming over Micks head it was a night were Nenad who was brought to the club to be the creative play maker had to stand up for Mick and he did just that. Nenad showed he belonged in the English game he tracked back, tackled, created a goal, scored, did the ugly stuff as well as the sublime and showed why he starts for such a strong national team like Serbia and why Serbian manager Raddy Antic who is the only man in the history of the great game to coach Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid rates him so highly. When a manager of that ilk Rates Nenad he`s ability was never in doubt but Wolves fans were getting nervous as to when Nenad would start producing his best. Bolton saw Nenad`s best first hand?.
But one game doesn`t make a player nor does it save a club`s season but what Nenad done to Bolton is exactly what Mick signed him for to be the leader in the team to give the team direction and purpose we know that Wolves are not made up of superstar signings like a Chelsea or Man City we have hard working running players who scarp for every ball and fight like no tomorrow but Nenad has the ability to be a class above his teammates exactly what any playmaker in any team should be and that is were Mick and the loyal fans expect Nenad to weave the Serbian magic he is known for ( taking nothing away from Nenad`s teammates who as we saw in a perfect example against Bolton Stephen Ward and Marcus Hahnemann showed why they were worthy of a Wolves shirt), and at White Harte Lane a couple of days later Nenad assisted record transfer signing Kevin Doyle in the third minute of the match to secure a vital three points were not even the most die-hard Wolves fan could have expected 3 points to a in form Spurs who dispatched Wigan in Ruthless fashion a couple of weeks before. That been Nenad`s third assist of the season.
And then on Sunday the 20th at home to fellow relegation rival Burnley in what could only be described as a “six point game” due to Burnley been 3 points in front of Wolves a loss was out of the question. It`s said by all big managers big players step up in big games now the 2 main signings of the Summer Nenad Milijas and record club signing Kevin Doyle showed they are the two main men to keep Wolves up in the Premier League. A wonderful crisp left foot finish in the 15th minute from the centre of the box after Matt Jarvis`s shoot was parried in between two Burnley defenders gave Nenad his second goal of the season both coming in successive home games.
Now we sit in 12th position heading into this weeks encounter at Anfield against an out of sorts Liverpool side who will be looking to prove they are still the premier league title contenders everyone dubbed them to be before the season kicked off and then we follow up by welcoming new City manager Roberto Mancini his lads will be eager for a strong showing in front of there new gaffer.
Now our form against the so called “big clubs” this season has been a worry we have lost to Chelsea 4-0, gone down at home to Arsenal 4-1 and lost at Old Trafford 3-0 not long ago and lost to city 1-0 in the early part of the season. A point at Anfield will be treated like a win no doubt about that.
Now to leave readers with something to think about ahead of this week`s game I would start the big Austrian lad Stefan Maierhofer ahead of Ebanks-Blake this week yes EB is a fan favourite due to his heroics in the championship last season but if Mick could leave the quality of Milijas on the bench for four weeks straight its time to give Ebanks Blake a rest and put “The Hoff” in Why the Hoff well he`s a tall lad (the Austrian version of Peter Crouch) who can only benefit from the sublime crossing of the man of the moment Nenad Milijas.
With the transfer window around the corner hopefully we can grab a few more points and head into January chasing a few quality players like a experience Premier League striker. But surely it wouldn`t hurt if Mick had more of a look in the Balkans were many world class talents have come from over the years and even now with Vidic, Ivanovic, Dzeko and many more shining across various European leagues, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia all have fairly cheap quality players surely we can find another gem like Nenad Milijas or uncover the next Branislav Ivanovic or Luka Modric.
Merry Christmas and a happy new year to all, may next year bring joy to all Wolves fans.
Show your teeth WOLVES!!!!
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