Wolves’ start their 2022/23 Premier League campaign in just a couple of weeks’ time, and the squad has been looking good out in Alicante.
The club played its final game against Villarreal B on Sunday, and it has been a very productive past couple of weeks for Bruno Lage and his players.
We have seen some fantastic football, mostly in the games against Deportivo Alaves and Besiktas.
For those contests, Lage used a 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 system, which seemed to give Wolves more of a cutting edge.
Such a formation allowed more players to be up there in the final third to cause damage.
One man who has looked particularly good in this system is Daniel Podence.
The 26-year-old has operated as the advanced midfielder, and it really does suit him down to the ground.
He was at the heart of everything for Wolves against Besiktas, finding pockets of space between the lines. He scored from the edge of the box after brilliant work from Rayan Ait-Nouri down the left, and that was his third goal of pre-season (he also netted against Burnley in the behind-closed-doors match just before the trip to Spain).
Previously, Podence has tended to play out wide.
Since his arrival at Molineux in January 2020, both Nuno Espirito Santo and Lage have had him out on the right or the left.
We’ve seen him come inside, but by and large the wide areas have been his area of operation.
But Podence playing as a number 10 in a 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 going forwards is something that could help him enjoy his best season to date.
Podence could enjoy his best season so far if Lage changes formation
If Wanderers are to use a back four more regularly this season, as is being touted, then Podence stands to benefit hugely.
As a number 10, he’ll have bodies around him and options to pick out with his creativity and vision.
He is one the most naturally gifted players Wolves have.
Arguably during his time at Molineux so far he has just lacked consistency, but perhaps the previous system hasn’t really suited him all that much.
At times last season, it felt as though he was the only one who could make something happen, but he ultimately just didn’t have the support.
Watching him playing centrally and with players around him has been refreshing and exciting.
Potentially, if he can stay fit, Podence could absolutely flourish for Wolves in 2022/23.