Wolverhampton Wanderers Training Session
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Dave Edwards says there is 'nothing there' when Ruben Neves doesn't play for Wolves

Former Wolves midfielder Dave Edwards has talked up the importance of Ruben Neves, stating that there is ‘nothing there’ when he doesn’t play.

Neves was absent for last weekend’s game with Chelsea, which Wolves lost 3-0 at Stamford Bridge.

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The midfielder had picked up his fifth booking of the season against West Ham United, meaning Matheus Nunes and Joao Moutinho lined up in the engine room, with Daniel Podence play just ahead of them in the number 10 role.

It was a lackluster performance from Wanderers.

There was a decent spell at the start of the second-half. But ultimately Wolves never truly threatened or had much control in the game.

Neves’ absence was certainly felt.

And Edwards, who shared the dressing room at Molineux with Neves, believes there is ‘nothing there’ for Wolves when the maestro doesn’t play.

He wrote in his latest Express & Star column: “You cannot underestimate the importance of losing Conor Coady, John Ruddy, Romain Saiss and Willy Boly.

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“You lose the soul of the football club from a players’ point of view.

“I know Ruben Neves personally and know how much he loves being a Wolves player. When you lose him from the team, there is nothing there. He needs to be available for Wolves to do well. The Nottingham Forest game is already huge.”

Thankfully. Neves will be available for selection again against Forest, after serving his one-game ban.

Nathan Collins serves his final game after getting a straight red card against Manchester City.

The drop-off is huge when Ruben Neves doesn’t play for Wolves

He doesn’t miss many games, but the difference in Wolves when Neves doesn’t play is very noticeable.

The 25-year-old just offers that quality and consistency in midfield.

He dictates games with his fantastic passing range and confidence on the ball. And he is also brilliant defensively.

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So when he isn’t on the pitch, the drop-off is fairly large.

And then of course there is Neves’ love for Wolves, as Edwards points out. He really does play with passion, and for the supporters.

Had he been available against Chelsea, there perhaps would have been at least a bit more fight.