Nuno Espirito Santo admits young Wolves striker Benny Ashley-Seal needs time to reach his full potential.
The 20-year-old forward made his full debut in Saturday’s 0-0 FA Cup third round draw against Manchester United, leading the line in place of Raul Jimenez and in the absence of the soon-to-depart Patrick Cutrone.
Ashley-Seal was replaced at half-time after a mixed 45 minutes in which he tested United’s experienced central defenders Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof.
“It was good, Benny did well. He started the game well, a couple of runs gave a bit of trouble to Maguire and Lindelof and after that the routines ran out there,” said head coach Nuno.
“We have to understand he’s a young boy, he’s progressing. He works with us every day, but he doesn’t have the competition routines of the rest of the team.
“But the Under-23s and Benny give us a big help. We know our reality needs this moment of the boys. We need his help and he gave us a big, big help.”
The Londoner gained his reward for a prolific spell of scoring for the Under-23s over the last season and a half following an unsuccessful loan spell at Portuguese top-flight club Famalicao – where Wolves have also sent Roderick Miranda on loan and who recent Under-23s midfielder Pedro Goncalves plays for – in the second half of last season.
Wolves beat off competition from Chelsea and Leicester to snap him up after he had been training with the Stamford Bridge club following a spell at Norwich, who he joined at the age of 14 after trials with Arsenal.
It’s understood Wolves paid Norwich a compensation fee for his services, after which Ashley-Seal impressed on the pre-season tour of Switzerland in the summer of 2018, when he was one of several Under-23s players given a chance by Nuno.
Ashley-Seal’s full debut was one of five changes Nuno made to the team that lost 2-1 to Watford on New Year’s Day.
The United game was Wolves’ 36th game of the season and fourth fixture in eight days over the hectic festive period.
Nuno has been delighted with the fitness and application of his squad.
“In that aspect it’s very good. Every player gave a good answer,” said the boss. “It was a very tough schedule, we started on the July 25 last year and have had many games in such a short space of time.
“I think we’ve managed well and at the beginning we survived. It was important we survived in all aspects because with who we are playing and who we want to continue progressing and competing, that’s why we had to manage in some moments because it was required.”