Julen Lopetegui said after Wolves’ win over Liverpool that Nathan Collins has been playing at a good level lately, but that he opted for new signing Craig Dawson.
The manager decided to go for Dawson against the Reds at Molineux on Saturday.
And the 32-year-old certainly vindicated Lopetegui’s decision.
Dawson produced a solid performance at the back alongside Maximilian Kilman.
And, of course, he scored the second goal of the game, lashing in from close range.
Dawson’s debut could not really have gone much better, and it’s possible he has already become a key player for Lopetegui.
The manager had been wanting a dominant centre-half with experience, and he certainly now has that in Dawson.
But after the game with Liverpool, Lopetegui wanted to speak about Collins, whom he feels has done well recently.
He said (Birmingham Mail): “Nathan Collins has been playing at a good level with us, but today he didn’t play. One other player played. This is a task about the team. The next match we might change three or four and they all have to be ready.”
Collins was perhaps a tad unfortunate to drop to the bench against Liverpool.
The star made a couple of errors against Manchester City and in the first FA Cup clash with Liverpool.
But he had a fairly strong January overall, and was among the nominees for Wolves’ Player of the Month.
But it wasn’t enough for the £20 million star to keep his place on Saturday, and he’ll now have to work hard to displace Dawson or Kilman.
Good management from Lopetegui to praise Collins after benching him for Dawson against Liverpool
It is good to hear Lopetegui saying something positive about Collins after he dropped him to the bench against Liverpool.
Because he has indeed been good in recent weeks.
The decision to drop him was just one of those things.
Dawson is a very experienced defender and perhaps suited the game more than Collins. And with Dawson being a right-footer, there was always a chance it would be Collins to make way rather than Kilman.
Collins now has a fight on his hands for minutes.
But he’s a great professional and will work hard to try and get back in. And that’s what is needed through the whole squad.