Julen Lopetegui has hinted that Ruben Neves will be starting as usual today for Wolves against Newcastle United.
Wanderers are up at St. James’ Park looking for another three points after beating Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 last weekend.
Wolves are just four points above the relegation zone after positive results for Everton, Bournemouth and Leeds United yesterday.
Newcastle are not in great form right now, but will still be a stern test for Wolves.
The Magpies are pushing for European football, and will be looking to get back on track today.
Lopetegui’s team selection will be very interesting.
There has been some talk about whether Wolves captain Neves might be left on the bench today.
That’s because he is currently on nine yellow cards. If he picks up one more before the game with Leicester City on April 22, he will have to serve a two-game ban.
After Newcastle, it’s Leeds United and Nottingham Forest for Wolves.
Of course, both of those clubs are very close to Wolves in the table. If Neves got booked today, he would not be available to play in those games.
But Lopetegui appeared to suggest that he will still start Neves today, despite him walking a tightrope.
He said (Express & Star): “He has to continue playing in the same way, for me. Don’t think about getting a yellow card or not, as it won’t help him play well.
“I don’t choose which match is better or not. Each match is three points.
“While Ruben is ready, normally he will play as he’s a very important player for us. After, if he suffers one more yellow card, we will choose another player.”
Julen Lopetegui comments suggest Ruben Neves will start for Wolves against Newcastle
It does feel as though Lopetegui isn’t afraid of a potential booking for Neves, 25, against Newcastle.
The manager has given the impression that he trusts another player to come in for his captain if he does have to serve that two-game ban.
He’s said he wants Neves to continue to play in the same way. That does suggest he isn’t thinking too deeply about the situation.
Perhaps though behind closed doors, Lopetegui will have strongly urged the 25-year-old to just be careful against Newcastle.
it would be a huge blow to not have Neves available for the Leeds and Forest games.