Ruben Neves has been an interesting case so far this season for Wolves.
The midfield maestro has been a regular in the side for Nuno Espirito Santo, making 17 appearances in all competitions, most of which have been starts.
Some have felt that Neves’ level has dipped a little of late.
Although it’s not necessarily what he’s about, the 23-year-old is yet to score or assist in 2020/21 and some feel he could be doing more.
But an interesting statistic has come to light about the defensive side of Neves’ game, which suggests him as being absolutely invaluable.
According to Opta, Neves won the ball back for Wolves 268 times in the Premier League in 2020 – which is more than any other player in the division.
And he also made more tackles this year of any Wolves player.
The £16 million star (Spotrac) is associated with long-range pings and rasping long shots, but it appears Neves is far more industrious than he is given credit for.
To be leading such a category ahead of the likes of seasoned ball-winners such as N’Golo Kante, Fabinho and Fernandinho is really impressive going, and perhaps is an argument against pushing him further forwards, an experiment some have been vounching for.
On social media, some Wolves fans expressed their surprise about the statistic:
Underrated player for the role he does… learning off the master moutinho 🧡🖤🧡🖤
— Russ Davies (@RussDavies17) December 31, 2020
And he’s been left out a fair few times too. Very under rated, even by the Manager.
— EzzaWolf (@ezzalodge) December 31, 2020
Feel like hes brought this side of his game on at the expense of making the play like he used to
— Richard Grice (@gricey88) December 31, 2020
Quality player and a great ambassador for @Wolves
— Trevor Worth (@trevorworth) December 31, 2020
Such an under-appreciated player! https://t.co/9pkmeSeqLT
— fwaw_ (@fwaw_) December 31, 2020
THE SLANDER ENDS NOW https://t.co/KMFWihC0w2
— whitehouse (@_samwhitehouse_) December 31, 2020
Now that is a stat I did not expect. Fair play. https://t.co/MCuKSaGNU7
— Gav (@gav_dhaliwal) December 31, 2020
The ugly things are as important as the pretty things in football, but often get overlooked.
Midfield hitman 💥 🇵🇹 https://t.co/EhqRVU1tPr
— Ryan Leister (@MrRyanLeister) December 31, 2020
This is what a lot of people miss they just expect worldies and 50 yard pings. Defensively he is very good , positionally excellent. He was really good against United more of the same in 2021 please Ruben and if you want to score a worldie or two I want complain #wwfc https://t.co/3Tdhn7yaGD
— Matt Cook (@Cookmtt1976) December 31, 2020
— wolvesfccal 🐺 (@cal_wolvesfc) December 31, 2020
So underrated, outstanding footballer! https://t.co/cGngGV71vk
— JimmyB (@onlyonebman) December 31, 2020