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Why Ki-Jana Hoever should start for Wolves tonight, but likely won't

Ki-Jana Hoever should start tonight for Wolves against Brighton.

The 19-year-old has been a regular on Bruno Lage’s bench in 2021/22.

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That was pretty much the same story as last season, as Nuno Espirito Santo placed unwavering faith in Nelson Semedo.

Hoever made just 15 appearances so the first-team last term and some wondered if a change of head coach might have meant more game time this season.

But that has not been the case. So far, Hoever has started just one game in the Premier League – against Leicester City on the opening day.

He did get 90 minutes in the Carabao Cup games against Nottingham Forest and Tottenham Hotspur.

But chances really have been few and far between for the Dutch youth international with Bruno Lage pretty taken by Semedo, just as Nuno was.

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Given Wolves’ games are now coming thick and fast, Hoever really should start tonight.

Semedo has played 90 minutes on 11 occasions this season, including in each of the last three games.

He’s played a lot of football, and one wonders if this is a potential opportunity to rest him.

Ki-Jana Hoever should start against Brighton, but probably won’t

Lage clearly has his favourites at Molineux.

Semedo is definitely one of them, which makes life hard for Hoever.

He really should get a chance tonight, as Brighton will be putting out a ‘weakened’ side due to cases of Covid-19, injuries and suspensions.

After Brighton, Wolves have got Chelsea and so a fully-rested Semedo would be ideal for that. Then it’s Watford, before the club travel to Arsenal for their final game of 2021.

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£40,000-a-week defender Hoever made an error against Liverpool, which Lage rightly said he didn’t need to apologise for.

What he does need to do is bounce back with a good performance. But the manager needs to give him a fair chance to do that.

However, Wolves’ poor form as a collective might just cost Hoever a start, with Lage having put a big emphasis on picking up points.

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