Wolverhampton Wanderers v Norwich City: The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round
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Leander Dendoncker needs a big second half of the season for Wolves

Wolves crashed out of the FA Cup on Saturday, losing 1-0 to Norwich City at Molineux.

It was a bitterly disappointing result given how good the team have been in recent weeks.

Photo by Jack Thomas – WWFC/Wolves via Getty Images

But it was a poor performance from Wanderers, and the club deservedly went out of the competition.

Thursday’s Premier League game with Arsenal offers a chance for the players to bounce back and lift the mood, and it will be interesting to see if Bruno Lage fields Leander Dendoncker.

The Belgium international started against the Canaries, but had a poor outing.

After the game, the manager admitted the 26-year-old didn’t really understand his role in the first-half.

He came in for criticism on social media afterwards, and it has to be said, that seems to be something that happens fairly regularly.

Unfortunately, Dendoncker hasn’t really been at the races this season. And his shortcomings are magnified by how well Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho have been performing as a pairing.

Photo by Jack Thomas – WWFC/Wolves via Getty Images

When one of the Portuguese maestros misses out, Wolves tend to feel it. That is not a good reflection on Dendoncker, who is usually the first port of call for Lage.

Right now, there is a considerable drop off in quality from Neves and Moutinho to Dendoncker.

Sometimes he’ll put in a solid enough display, like against Tottenham Hotspur in the Carabao Cup earlier this season.

But there is a frustrating lack of consistency with Dendoncker.

It probably doesn’t help him that Neves and Moutinho are clearly favoured by Lage.

But he just seems to be ineffective in too many games and arguably, he could really with a strong finish to the season at Molineux.

Dendoncker needs to prove himself ahead of potential summer of change at Wolves

There is potential for Ruben Neves to leave Wolves this summer. It is not a nice prospect to consider, but the midfielder has been with Wolves since 2017, is at the top of his game, and will draw interest from other clubs. He may see it as his time to seek a new challenge.

Moutinho is out of contract this summer. That said, Lage loves the veteran and an extension is possible.

Photo by Jack Thomas – WWFC/Wolves via Getty Images

It is therefore very important for Dendoncker to really prove his worth in the second half of the season.

The £12 million star (talkSPORT) needs to knuckle down, and fully seize his chances when they come his way.

Failure to do so could see Lage vouch for his sale.