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Bruno Lage praises Ki-Jana Hoever as Wolves defender eyes first-team comeback

Bruno Lage has praised Ki-Jana Hoever, and suggested the youngster could feature against before the season is out.

The Dutchman has not played for the first-team since he got injured against Crystal Palace in early March

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Hoever was selected to start that day in place of the injured Nelson Semedo.

But he had to be withdrawn in the first-half when he suffered a hamstring injury of his own.

After the game, Bruno Lage gave a surprisingly strong opinion about Hoever. He suggested that a lack of preparation was behind him getting injured.

The manager then also suggested that some young players had not been working in the way he wanted.

His remarks cast a bit of doubt on Hoever’s future at the club. But Lage did say soon after that that the player would have another chance with him.

He also said that he spoke to Hoever and the whole group.

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Hoever is now back fit again, and on Monday he turned out for the U23s, making an assist for Luke Cundle in the 4-2 win over Newcastle United at Molineux.

It was a good display from the former Liverpool man, and Lage spoke positively about the 20-year-old earlier this week.

He said (Wolves official): “Ki is coming back and did a fantastic recovery. He’s just started working with us this week and he wants to play with the U23s to have some minutes.

“I hope until the end of the year, if I have the chance to put him in the games, I will put him in the games with no problems because I don’t drop anyone.

“What I want is commitment and competition every day, and if I see anyone – Joao [Moutinho], Raul [Jimenez], Saiss, Ki, Fabio [Silva] or Trincao – not training in the same level, I will tell them to train at the level I want.”

A big few weeks for Ki-Jana Hoever at Wolves

The season is almost over, and time is running out for Hoever to get any more first-team minutes.

But it’s clear Lage wants to give him another chance. It’s just about the player proving he is worthy of selection.

It is going to be difficult for him to play given Jonny is doing so well right now. And then, of course, Semedo is available again.

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But if he can make his mark with the U23s, Lage might just throw him in if the situation is right.

And it would be good to see him back out there.

Hoever is a good player. He’s already shown he can come back from a bad moment (against Liverpool) with his brilliant performance against Chelsea back in December.

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