Julen Lopetegui is now officially in at Wolves as the new manager, succeeding Bruno Lage – and it’s interesting to consider the effect he could have on different players. And one player it’s going to be intriguing to watch from here on in is Daniel Podence.
Podence made a cracking start to the new season, scoring on the opening day of the season against Leeds United.
In the following five or six games or so, he was one of Wolves’ best players.
At times, it felt like he was the only one providing any kind of danger for Wolves in the final third.
Just lately though, Podence hasn’t quite been at it.
And against Arsenal, he found himself on the bench for only the third time this season in the Premier League. Steve Davis opted to go with a counter-attacking front two of Goncalo Guedes and Adama Traore instead.
Podence was also on the bench for the Carabao Cup game with Leeds United. But he came off the bench in the second-half to provide the assist for Boubacar Traore’s goal. Arguably, none of Wolves’ other wingers would have had the vision and execution to play that brilliant pass square.
Statistically, Podence remains Wolves’ most productive attacker, despite not being at his best level of late.
The 26-year-old still just lacks that true consistency at Molineux, which is something he’s never really found since he arrived from Olympiacos.
Under Nuno Espirito Santo and Bruno Lage, there were always flashes of him being a really top player.
But these moments would only really last a handful of games.
Admittedly, Podence does suffer from those around him being poor in front of goal.
He does create a decent amount of chances, and really should have more assists to his name. That isn’t really his fault.
It’s hard to believe that he only has nine assists in 85 games for Wolves since he joined. His goal return of 12 is also pretty underwhelming.
Lopetegui is at the helm now, and hopefully Podence can finally find that consistency under the Spaniard.
Daniel Podence could find a new level under Julen Lopetegui
Podence can be a frustrating player to watch sometimes.
He has wonderful feet and is very much a flair player, and has the potential to get people off their feet.
But on the flip side of that, the things he does don’t always come off. He loves a flick, and when one is intercepted, it is very annoying, because more often than not there was a more simple option.
Podence does have a tendency to make the wrong decision in games. But players like him can make watching football a truly brilliant experience.
Podence is close to being a top player for Wolves. But that consistency is not yet there with him.
Fans will hope that it can be third time lucky with Lopetegui, who is known for overseeing free-flowing football. The pair might just be a great pairing.