Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo believes Ruben Vinagre is a ‘special’ talent as he prepares to take on Brighton.
The 20-year-old left wing back is again preparing to deputise for the injured Jonny Castro Otto, who has been sidelined with an ankle knock since getting injured late on in the 3-0 win against Norwich on February 23.
Vinagre plays the position slightly differently to the Spaniard – he is naturally more attacking and quicker, and left-footed as opposed to the right-footed Jonny.
The Portuguese has played more than 60 times for Wolves since initially arriving on loan from Monaco in summer 2017 before a bargain £2m move 12 months later.
Nuno has complete faith in the Portugal Under-21 international.
“They are different but also they understand the philosophy and the tasks of the position that they occupy,” said the head coach.
“You have the same shape with different players, the characteristics change by individual situations that we have.
“They are different but they are also very good players – we trust them.
“I think he’s growing, it’s our third season already with Vinagre.
“He’s progressing, improving in a lot of things – tactically, technically.
“But the talent is there and that’s why Vinagre is massively important to us.
“He’s so versatile and can give us some different things during the game. He’s special.”
Jonny and midfielder Morgan Gibbs-White are out with ankle issues, but they are not serious and neither is expected to be out for long.
“We have some issues regarding the game,” said Nuno. “Morgan and Jonny – it’s something we still have to attend.
“No (there’s no expected return date), he’s not yet with the team. He’s getting better but it will take some time.”
Brighton arrive at Molineux in 15th place after eight league games without a win and just a point above the relegation zone, but five of those games have been draws.
“It’s not about the table,” added Nuno. “It’s not about what we’ve done, it’s about our opponent. It’s going to be very difficult.
“He (Brighton manager Graham Potter) has implemented a way they play, Brighton are a good team full of quality players.
“We have to compete and focus on the task that we have to do. During the game, competing for every ball, we don’t change.
“It’s one of the options so we are preparing well, it can be multiple options for the Brighton team.
“But I repeat, they’re full of quality players and have a good way of playing football.”