Yesterday, I covered some quotes given by Connor Wickham just after the Chelsea game in which the 25-year-old implored Roy Hodgson to start him against Wolves but judging by a single withering one liner from the gaffer, the chances of him doing so are very slim.
When Roy was pressed for a comment on how close Wickham was to being ready for a start following his side’s 1-0 loss to the Blues, he said:
“After today’s performance I would say, not very close.”
I don’t think I’m overstepping the mark when saying that this comment from the gaffer is both baffling and unfair to the 25-year-old, based upon the efforts he’s made since reappearing in the first-team following a two-year lay-off. Perhaps Roy simply meant that he wasn’t yet willing to push Connor’s body that far but the words alone suggest that the big man is still well off the pace; an assumption I simply can’t get on board with given the general lethargy shown by all of his teammates against Sarri’s Chelsea last Sunday.
As a manager, Roy’s motivational attributes are often spoken of glowingly by his players but this particular instance feels like a misstep on his part, diminishing the hard work Wickham has put in, not to mention the impact his presence immediately had against Cardiff shortly before the arrival of the men from the Fulham Road. With a little bit of luck, Connor could easily have scored a goal in each of those games, proving that as a striker, he is getting into the right positions.
For me, even if the former Sunderland man isn’t yet ready to last a full 90 minutes, a start up at Molineux would be preferential to the turgid containing effort we put in against Chelsea. Hodgson may well intend to be far more gung-ho throughout our visit to the Midlands but of late, it’s difficult to gain any real grasp on our likely approach from week to week.
I’d like to hope that Hodgson’s quotes relating to Wickham were a simple bluff but history would suggest otherwise. We shall find out soon enough.