Ian Wright believes Wolves must feed Adama Traore if he is going to be a success at wing back.
The Arsenal legend was surprised to see the Spanish forward in the more withdrawn role, which he has played every time he has been involved this season, at Everton on Sunday. But he was equally baffled why Traore’s team-mates didn’t give him the ball more often to show what he can do.
“It’s really strange to see him there. But if they’re going to do it, they’ve got to use him as often as they can when he gets himself into the final third because his ability is undoubted,” said Wright.
“It was interesting to watch someone of that pace, power and skill playing that position and not getting as much of the ball as he could have got.”
The former Gunners and England striker watched Traore closely in the 3-2 defeat at Goodison Park. The 23-year-old had a mixed afternoon, brilliantly setting up Wolves’ first goal for Romain Saiss, then caught ball watching as Alex Iwobi headed Everton back in front for 2-1.
“On one occasion, you think ‘is he going to take him on? No. He wants a one-two, then the space, so he can take them on, but they don’t give it to him,” reflected Wright on Match of the Day 2.
“I think if he’s playing there then you’ve got to use him so he can see his ability.
“We saw that when he took on Lucas Digne (for Wolves’ first goal). He’s one on one but his strength and skill means Digne has got no chance of stopping him. He did that to him most of the day, and Wolves got their first goal back from it.
“But there were other times when he should have pushed further up than he was and they (team-mates) should have been doing everything they could to get him into those attacking spaces to take Digne on because he gave him a torrid time for most of the day. Playing in that wing back role, I think he should be pushed on more, so they can get the ball to him.
“In another instance, we saw him when he was further up the field with three players on him, but he still got the ball to his feet and they couldn’t stop him. He put in a great cross but the goalkeeper did well and caught it.
“He’s very difficult to dispossess when he gets the ball. But there was an instance in the second half when they needed to pass to him but they didn’t do it and Everton came away with the ball. I was thinking ‘if it’s him with his speed and power, they’ve got to give the ball to him’.”
Wright believes Traore must improve the defensive side of his game if he is going to continue as wing back however.
“The part of it he has to learn quickly if he’s going to play this role – he left Alex Iwobi and realised too late, and Iwobi scored,” said the pundit.
“I think with the (Iwobi) goal, he had that vacant vibe about him where he was in a forward position and he was just waiting for the ball to come, rather than think ‘I’ve gotto switch on now because I need to be in a defensive mode’.
“If they get him sorted in defensive mode, he will be very difficult to stop, but I’m not sure how they’re going to do that.”