Daniel Podence has waited to make an impact at Wolves
In the January transfer window earlier on this year, Wolverhampton Wanderers spent £16.9 million on Olympiacos winger Daniel Podence signing him on a four-and-a-half-year deal. Podence made 42 appearances for the Greek side and scored eight goals across all competitions in his two years there. However, since signing for Wolves the Portuguese winger has only made seven appearances in the English Premier League and is yet to gain regular entry in Nuno’s starting line-up.
Naturally, fans were worried that Podence wouldn’t perform at the same level as he did in The Super League in Greece as the winger had gone from being regularly played for Olympiacos to waiting six months for his first Premier League start In the Black Country. Before his start at Everton, fans had only seen Podence’s potential in his brief debut against Manchester United earlier on in the season, he made the most impact however in Wolves 3-2 defeat away at Espanyol in the Europa League in which he provided the assists to both of the Wanderers goals. Podence isn’t the only Wolves player who has had to wait their turn to show Nuno and the fans their Premier League worth.
Both Adama Traore and Leander Dendoncker, who have turned out to be crucial additions to the squad this season, understand the relentless effort needed to gain a starting place in the squad and the green light from the gaffer. It’s even rumoured Dendoncker told Podence the importance of being patient and waiting for his chance, with the impact the Portuguese winger had on both games against Everton and Burnley the fans are glad that he did.
How vital was the addition of Podence in the squad for Wolves v Everton?
When Podence was announced in the starting line up against 11th place Everton, it was easy to see that Nuno was going for an attacking – fast-paced squad with the inclusion of Jimenez and fellow Portuguese winger Neto.
Podence brought a sense of energy into the Wolves side that had simply been lacking in the previous two games which had both been defeats for the Wanderers. Standing at only five foot five the Portuguese winger’s pace and trickery outclassed Everton’s defence, in particular, Leighton Baines and Anthony Gordon. Podence impressed the fans and Nuno even further when he drew the foul from Everton’s Lucas Digne in the penalty area, the spot-kick was converted by Mexican striker Raul Jimenez and saw Wolves 1-0 up at the end of the first half at an empty Molineux.
As Wolves went on to a 3-0 victory, it was obvious that Podence brought an extra dimension to the game. Whether it was his ability to run at defenders with the ball, his adaptability to switch wings and pick passes or his wonderful sense of low gravity, the Man of the Match title was deservedly his. The ‘number ten’ role allows Podence to get behind Wolves’ strikers, create chances and score goals with Nuno having the option to put him on either wing and allowing squad rotation. Podence continued his form against Burnley and brought the quality he showed against Everton to Sean Dyche’s team at Turf moor but controversy with VAR meant another Wolves victory was out of grasp.
The impact Podence can have on the rest of the season and Europa League
With only two games left of the season and Wolves’ Champions League dreams taking a dent, fans are all but keen to ensure Europa League qualification again for next season. Podence’s inclusion in the squad will affect the remaining two fixtures in the Premier League and the possibility of Europa League glory. The Portuguese winger adds some much-needed squad depth and gives Nuno an extra option when it comes to starting or bringing on an impact sub. The use of Podence in the Europa League would see some players such as Traore and Jota earning a bench rest which after playing over a season and a half worth of football, the team might welcome.
Podence could be the breath of fresh air the squad needs to see themselves not only conquer Europe but gain entry to the esteemed UEFA Champions League. With the Wanderers remaining fixtures in the Premier league being Crystal Palace and Chelsea, who have both been in mediocre form since project restart, the introduction of Daniel could see him bring tired defenders issues. The last games Wolves play will directly affect the club’s possible overseas adventures next season and the fans are eager to see Podence as part of the starting pack.