Tony Pulis has revealed how Wolves flier Adama Traore still keeps in touch with him.
Pulis sold Traore to Wolves for £18m in August 2018 when he was Middlesbrough manager.
The former Albion boss was sacked at the Riverside at the end of last season after failing to guide Boro into the play-offs.
But the 61-year-old has maintained a relationship with Traore, who was his standout player in his 71 games on Teesside from 2016, where he moved for £7m after a year at Villa.
“When I went to Middlesbrough this kid wasn’t being played,” said Pulis, who is currently out of work.
“He had exceptional talent, and I used to bring him in, sit him down, he’d make me a green tea, and we’d just talk about his game.
“Even today not so long ago he called me to see how I am and asked whether I’d watched one of his games. You make that connection.
“With others you find they’re not your type and you won’t spend as much time with them, but they’re still important to you so you treat them well.”
Pulis ended up selling Traore to Wolves and star striker Patrick Bamford to Leeds at the end of the 2017-18 season and it significantly weakened Boro’s attack.
The Welshman wasn’t surprised with the subsequent results as only four teams scored fewer goals than Boro.
“Just take last year for example, they complained and moaned at Middlesbrough because we hadn’t scored enough goals – and we hadn’t done it because we’d sold Bamford, who was the top scorer at the club, and we sold Traore, who was the best winger outside the Premier League,” he explained on the Ian Holloway Podcast.
“If you take those two out of your team and don’t replace them, you’re not going to score as many goals as I did in the first six months there.”
Pulis has been linked with the vacant Stoke job after the sacking of Nathan Jones last week. The Welshman has had two previous spells in charge at the bet365 Stadium, while the Potters have been refused permission to speak to Preston boss Alex Neil.
“I’m not so sure I’m ready for retirement,” said Pulis when asked about his future.