Luke Cundle was a surprise inclusion in the Wolves starting XI when they beat Tottenham on their own patch on Sunday afternoon.
Cundle has been arguably the standout player in James Collins’ Under 23 side this season and the promotion to first team training has been a recognition of that.
Collins told the Athletic about his reaction to the midfielder’s first Premier League start in the hugely important 2-0 weekend win.
“A lot of people here have worked with him for a long time,” he said. “He’s a good kid, he’s humble, it can be difficult when under-23s cross over to the first-team, their egos can be dented one way or the other but he’s always been grounded, he never felt he was a first-team player before he earned it.
“He knows he’s not cracked it yet. One game is a wonderful achievement but he’ll know that’s not enough. When he gets to 20, 50, 100 appearances, he’s established.
“The staff are delighted for him. Was he a superstar as a kid? Probably not. When I came in, it took a while for him to grow on me. You sort of don’t notice him at first, he doesn’t catch the eye with a trick or a skill. The more you’re around him, the more you realise how good he is.
“The first-team players love him and speak highly of him, he’s earned their trust. The staff at the younger age groups have a spring in their step. It’s exciting, it’s why we’re all in the job.”
Wolves’ small squad gives the likes of Cundle an opportunity to get on the bench and get a start when there are absentees.
He grabbed that opportunity and as Collins says, it is now up to him to get established as a player with a number of appearances under his belt.
Joao Moutinho’s contract situation may be one to watch with regards to Cundle too. Cundle cannot replace the Portuguese maestro’s class, but if he does leave in the summer, that would vastly boost the youngster’s prospects.
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