Nuno Espirito Santo believes Adama Traore’s ability to be his ‘flexible friend’ will keep him in contention for a Wolves place – but he must improve.
Traore was one of Wolves’ better performers in a rare start at right wing back in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Burnley.
The £18m club record signing has also played as a wide man in a front three and as a second striker in a front two in his stop-start Molineux career.
Head coach Nuno believes it’s vital for the 23-year-old to be able to adapt to different positions as part of such a small squad.
“It depends on the shape and the idea you want from the game, but being versatile is important, and he has this ability to do it,” said Nuno.
“He performed well. It’s one of the aspects that we have to improve to create solutions, for that specific position, and he is one of them.
“It’s one of the things he can do, but it has to be within our shape and what we want.
“The idea was for that specific game, but being versatile helps when the reality shows we have a small squad, so the versatility of some players gives us better options. Being versatile is good.”
Nuno revealed he would be happy to play Traore at wing back again.
“Yes, if the game requires it and we decide, it’s one of the options,” he added.
But the Portuguese admits the former Middlesbrough forward must continue to improve his game.
“All of the players have to have the will to improve. He has it,” he said. “On what? All the aspects of the game – defensive, offensive, with possession, without the ball, positioning – everything.”
Traore has been reported as being the fastest footballer in the world and Nuno says he has not coached or managed any player as quick as the Spaniard.
Another Wolves record signing from a different era, Steve Kindon in the 1970s, won the Britain’s fastest footballer seven times in a row and could run 100 metres in under 11 seconds.
Nuno admits he does not know how fast Traore is because the staff have not timed him.
“No, we don’t do those kinds of tests,” he said. “It’s all with the ball. The boys have to put their talent and their speed with the ball.
“If not, we have fantastic players, but the ball is important, no? So we don’t test that kind of thing.
“Adama’s really fast, but I seem to remember Ruben Vinagre got the fastest speed during one moment in the game against Cardiff.”