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The best possible Wolves XI Julen Lopetegui can put out

Julen Lopetegui will no doubt be racking his brains about how to get Wolves back on the straight and narrow.

The season has now taken a back seat for the World Cup, but the hard work starts now for Lopetegui back at Molineux.

There are many problems for him to address.

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It’s been a seriously poor start to 2022/23 from Wolves, and fans are concerned about the current state of play.

But many have faith in Lopetegui to turn things around.

Over the next few weeks, the Spaniard will be getting to know his new players and learning what makes them tick.

It is a chance for him to work out his best team, although some players he’ll definitely be relying on are currently in Qatar.

Here’s perhaps the best possible XI Lopetegui can put out…

Goalkeeper and Defence

Wolves’ defence started off pretty solid this season, but in recent weeks the backline has looked alarmingly shaky.

Lopetegui needs to instill a bit of organisation and place a big focus on getting more clean sheets. It’s just four for the season so far in the Premier League.

Jose Sa is obviously going to stay as the number one under the new head coach and in front of him, the best possible backline right now is arguably Nelson Semedo, Nathan Collins, Maximilian Kilman and Hugo Bueno.

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Semedo has been poor this season, but probably plays ahead of Jonny Castro Otto, who’s really struggled.

Collins and Kilman have both dipped in recent weeks, but the partnership has clear potential.

And young Bueno has been a revelation at left-back. There’s just no way he can be dropped, having shown he can bring just as many qualities as Rayan Ait-Nouri.

Midfield

Lopetegui has already talked about Ruben Neves and it seems the new manager is ready to build the team around the maestro. And why wouldn’t he?

Neves has been a class act in this struggling team, and Wolves need him to keep his standards high.

He should be accompanied in the midfield by Matheus Nunes and Boubacar Traore.

Nunes needs to be playing as a box-to-box midfielder and not a ‘number 10’.

Photo by Jack Thomas – WWFC/Wolverhampton Wanderers FC via Getty Images

He doesn’t look all that comfortable as an advanced midfielder, a role that doesn’t get the best of him.

Boubacar has been looked really good in recent weeks. He is definitely raw, but he brings tenacity and a strong ball-winning ability.

Arguably, he has now shown enough to warrant starting regularly over veteran Joao Moutinho. He’s very much on course to make a permanent move to Molineux next year (for just under £10 million).

This midfield trio seemingly has the right balance to help Wolves become more dominant in the middle of the park.

Attack

Wolves have been toothless again in the final third this season, and hopefully Lopetegui can address this as soon as possible.

Adama Traore and Daniel Podence are surely the best wide options for Lopetegui.

Adama has put in some lively performances this season, and has been making Bruno Lage look silly for keeping him on the bench for most of the season before he departed.

Podence, as much as he has the potential to frustrate, has been Wolves’ most creative player this season. It would be madness for Lopetegui to start benching him.

And then it is a question of who to play through the middle.

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Lopetegui has spoken about having a fit Raul Jimenez back, but who knows if the 31-year-old will return and rediscover is goalscoring mojo.

Diego Costa probably gets in ahead of him.

He may not have scored yet, but Costa at least provides a focal point and brings that fighting spirit.

Yes, his red card against Brentford was silly. But Wolves knew there was baggage with him when they signed him.

Best Wolves XI Lopetegui can possibly field (4-3-3): Sa/Semedo, Collins, Kilman, Bueno/Neves, Nunes, Boubacar/Adama, Costa, Podence