2022/23 is supposed to be Pedro Neto’s season.
The winger returned to action for Wolves in February of this year after fracturing his patella during the 2020/21 campaign.
He made 13 appearances after coming back, and finished with a goal against Liverpool.
He then went into pre-season, where he looked really sharp and many felt confident Neto would be one of Wolves’ best performers moving forwards.
But that has not been the case – in fact, he has been amongst the most disappointing.
Things just haven’t come off for Neto, and has been clear to see how frustrated he has been with himself.
The international break has been an opportunity for Neto to just reset away with the Portugal national team.
But interestingly, Fernando Santos did not hand him any minutes in the 4-0 win over Czech Republic at the weekend.
And for tonight’s game with Spain, Neto has actually be left out entirely.
That will be a bitter blow for the 22-year-old, who would have hoped for some minutes in Estádio Municipal de Braga.
It is an indicator as to how Santos currently views Neto. He is clearly quite far down in the pecking order at the moment, and arguably has a lot of work to do to make that final squad.
He’s really struggled so far for Wolves, which is why these next seven weeks or so are going to be absolutely huge for the former Braga star.
Pedro Neto is facing the biggest moment of his career to date, as Wolves winger is left out of Portugal squad to face Spain
It is very interesting to see Neto being snubbed for tonight’s game with Spain.
Presumably, the starting XI tonight is perhaps going to be close to the one that Santos picks against Ghana in their first group stage match.
Portugal do have a game against Nigeria on November 17 before they fly out to Qatar. But by that point Santos will have named his squad (all competing nations must do so by November 13). So the squad to face Nigeria will be the set of players that are going to Qatar.
If Neto wants a seat on that plane, he is really going to have to turn his form around at Wolves.
He hasn’t been good enough so far. But knowing his place could be in danger might be something he responds well to.
Santos overlooking him tonight may be the catalyst he needs, and that could potentially be to Wolves’ benefit.