Wolverhampton Wanderers’ may be in the third tier of English football, but their young players could soon make them very proud.
It's a bit of an understatement to say Wolves haven’t had the best of times in recent years. Successive relegations have seen them fall into the third tier, going through more managers than a club of their size and stature would have expected in such a short space of time.
And yet under new boss Kenny Jackett, the future seems considerably brighter. And the present doesn’t look too bad either - not if Saturday’s 4-0 win over Gillingham is an indication of things to come.
That win had much to do with striker Leigh Griffiths, whose brace helped Wolves to their first victory of the season. But the contribution of Jackett’s other young players shouldn’t be dismissed.
Despite being just 18, midfielder Lee Evans strode into Molineux with a confidence belying his years.
“I don’t just want to be the future,” he said on his arrival, “I want to be the present as well.”
It was a bold statement, and yet his contribution Saturday suggested he could be just that: scoring his side’s second before winning the penalty that ultimately sealed the rout.
Griffiths and Evans are just two of the new generation of footballers Jackett has cannily put his faith in. There is also 19-year-old Zeli Ismail, 21-year-old Matt Doherty, and David Davis and Danny Batth, both 22.
Ismail is the one on whom many hopes have previously been pinned. But to date he has been weighed down by unrealistic expectations in a culture of sound-bites that hailed him as a future superstar.
You sense under Jacket he will simply be allowed to play.
And while this next generation of potential Wolves greats do just that, those they should be learning from are waiting to leave, some due to financial restrictions and others because they have failed to perform.
In some ways, these young footballers have the job of repairing the damage of players far more experienced than them.
Players like Jamie O’Hara and Roger Johnson – men who could learn a thing or two from this next breed, who may take some time to achieve their potential, but who could ultimately lead Wolves back to where they belong.
Do you believe Wolves' young players can help inspire them to future success ?