Jordan Graham was overlooked for Wolves’ clash against Paris Saint Germain in favour of the ‘younger generation’.
The 24-year-old winger could have played at Molineux for the first time since September 2017 in Wednesday night’s Premier League International Cup 1-1 draw against the French giants’ Under-23s side, but coaching staff felt younger players deserved a chance.
Graham has returned to the fold recently after a loan move to Bulgarian club Lokomotiv Plovdiv fell through over an issue with FIFA clearance.
The former Aston Villa youngster played the previous two Under-23s games, coming on in the 1-0 Leasing.com Trophy defeat a Blackpool on November 5, then starting up front in the 2-1 win over Birmingham City in the Premier League Cup four days later.
Caretaker Under-23s coach Mark Kennedy said: “I cannot speak highly enough about Jordan. But Jordan’s 24. This game was really around showcasing and giving our immediate Under-23 squad the experience of that.
“I spoke to Jordan about that and explained it to him and I have to give him a lot of credit because he was fully supportive of that.”
Graham’s omission allowed 16-year-old Chem Campbell to start up front alongside Benny Ashley-Seal. Kennedy added: “I’m Jordan’s biggest fan. If you speak to Scott Sellars, Kevin Thelwell and all the academy guys, we’re all big, big fans.
“Jordan is an extremely talented player and I was his coach for two months in the loans group.”
Graham will return to the squad for the visit of Premier League 2 leaders Chelsea on Saturday lunchtime at AFC Telford (12.45pm).
“He’ll be in our squad for the Chelsea game on Saturday and I hope he’ll play a major part in that,” said Kennedy.
“That’s the only reason why Jordan wasn’t involved. We felt it was really about the younger generation but I have to give Jordan a lot of credit because he was very receptive to that.”
A crowd of 5,448 turned up to watch the Under-23s’ first taste of European action at Molineux, something Kennedy was delighted with to add to the youngsters’ experience.
Wolves recovered from conceding after 27 seconds to equalise through centre back Dan Csako’s 57th-minute header.
“All the training you do, all the phases of play, I cannot replicate 6,000 fans at Molineux on a beautiful night,” said Kennedy.
“It is impossible to do, so it was brilliant for me as a coach and for the players because in some games if a goal goes in that early, it can end up a cricket score.
“The fact they responded so well in the manner they played, I’m really pleased for them. It is great learning, brilliant.”