New Wolves manager Julen Lopetegui will no doubt be keeping a close eye on how his players perform at the World Cup in Qatar but he may have been disappointed with the performance of captain Ruben Neves.
The former Porto man, who has been comfortably Wolves’ best performer in the Premier League so far this season with four goals to his name, started in midfield for Portugal as they took on Ghana on Thursday afternoon.
The 25-year-old was expected to provide the defensive cover in an otherwise attacking midfield featuring Otavio and Bernardo Silva but he struggled to cope with Ghana’s direct runners, with Mohammed Kudus in particular, causing him problems with his pace and dribbling ability.
This was emphasised by a performance analyst EBL 2017 on Twitter, who suggested that:
“Kudus’ operation speed with the ball is abnormal. He’s left Ruben Neves chasing shadows all night.”
As per Sofascore, the Wolves star would earn a poor 6.5/10 rating for his performance, which was the worst of any outfield Portugal player to start the game.
Were you disappointed with Neves?
During his time on the pitch, Neves was dribbled past on three occasions, made just one tackle and lost 67% of his duels, which suggests that he wasn’t at his best against the Black Stars.
While the midfield maestro was accurate with the majority of his passes, recording a 92% success rate, he failed to contribute a single shot on target or key pass, which suggests that he didn’t really have an attacking impact against Ghana.
With Wolves bottom of the Premier League, Neves may well be viewing the World Cup as an opportunity to showcase his talent on the world stage ahead of a potential transfer, but his disappointing performance may well work in the Old Gold’s favour, as they look to keep him at Molineux until the end of the season to aid them in their relegation battle.
Lopetegui will certainly be hoping for more from his captain when he returns to Premier League action with Wolves in December.