Menu Close

Wolves snap up Portuguese defender for U23s

Wolves have snapped up versatile Portuguese defender Flavio Cristovao for their Under-23s squad after he impressed on trial.
The 22-year-old free agent has agreed to a one-year deal at Molineux after arriving on trial at the start of pre-season. Cristovao has been playing in the centre of the back three in the Under-23s’ pre-season friendlies but can also play in midfield.
Cristovao is expected to boost Rob Edwards’s Under-23s squad this season, with Max Kilman and Dion Sanderson having stepped up to Nuno Espirito Santo’s senior squad. The Under-23s embark on their first season in Premier League 2 Division 1, the top flight of development football, following their promotion last season.
Last season, Cristovao played 36 games for CD Alves’s Under-23 team and figured three times in the Taça Revelação, the latter appearances all in a defensive midfield position. Before that he spent the 2017-18 season with Mirandela, after leaving Casa Pia.
Given the defender’s age and experience, Edwards is looking for Cristovao to be challenging for first-team football soon. “We’ll be looking for him to work really hard,” said Edwards. “He’s got to try to play as much football as possible, because at 22 he’ll be looking at using this season to give him a springboard to first-team football.”
Edwards added: “Flavio’s done well in the last few weeks with us. He’s got good experience for a 22-year-old, and we expect him to add a bit of steel to the group.
“Although he’s more of a defensive player, he’s someone who can handle the ball well, while his versatility is also something that has impressed us. He’s been playing at the middle of defence, but he can play anywhere across the back three, as well as being that holding player in centre midfield.
“He understands everything we are trying to do as he’s quite football intelligent, so we’re pleased with how he’s improving and feeling more comfortable every day. The Swansea match on Monday (won 1-0) was probably his best game to date.”
Cristovao joins Rui Patricio, Ruben Neves, Joao Moutinho, Ruben Vinagre and Diogo Jota as another Portuguese import and he is relishing learning from his compatriots.
“It’s a very big help. I’m pretty sure they’re going to help me with everything I need,” he said. “I know a lot about them, of course. I’ve been following Patricio and Moutinho, all of them, for as long as I can remember. I can’t wait to meet those guys, particularly Moutinho and Patricio who are the big stars from the Portuguese national team.”
Cristovao is excited about what lies ahead and believes he is at a new level joining Wolves. “I’m very excited. For me, it’s a new challenge,” he added. “A different home with different football, everything is new for me. It’s better football here, better conditions and for me it’s a completely new level. This opportunity came up and I thought it was very good for me.”
Cristovao confirmed his ambition to push hard for a first-team place. “I’m happy to work away with the Under-23s, of course, but if I can, I’ll do my best to step up, and play with them as well. I’m very ambitious,” he said. “Wolves play very different from Portugal, but I like it because the shape makes me a better player and work harder every day.”