Premier League • England

Exciting Wolves talent urged to ‘stay prepared’ by Newcastle star with game time being limited

James Pennington
Newcastle winger Miguel Almiron

Newcastle winger Miguel Almiron

Enzo Gonzales has received advice from fellow Paraguayan winger Miguel Almiron about how to wait for his chance at Wolves.

Gonzalez, 18, is currently contracted to Wolves but is yet to make a first-team appearance after moving from his homeland to the midlands in the 2023 summer window.

Gonzalez, who stands at 1.69m (5ft 7), moved from his native Paraguay on this summer’s deadline day, as Libertad received a fee of around €6m (£5.2m) for his services.

The winger has only featured once in the matchday squad so far this season and that came in the first gameweek after he had signed, away at Crystal Palace where Wolves were defeated 3-2. Since then, he has not featured in the matchday squad at all.

He has made three appearances for Wolves U21s in the Premier League 2 so far this campaign and aims to impress in a bid to force his way into the first team.

Wolves have had a mixed campaign thus far, with impressive victories at home to Man City and away at Everton compounded with disappointing defeats away at Sheffield United and at home to Brighton.

Julen Lopetegui left the club on August 8, less than a week before the season began due to the club’s financial situation, leaving them scrambling for a replacement.

Gary O’Neil was appointed the day after Lopetegui left, giving him little time to prepare his team for the upcoming campaign and season-opener away at Man Utd, where they lost despite impressing.

Wolves’ struggles have meant that game time hasn’t been afforded to the youngster and instead to more proven and reliable players such as the ever-improving Pedro Neto and Hwang Hee-Chan, whose output has both been crucial for the midlands side this campaign.

“This is how it is,” says Newcastle star in support of Gonzalez

Gonzalez is not the only Paraguayan currently in the Premier League, as Julio Enciso, who is only a year older than Gonzalez, has shone for Brighton before picking up a long-term injury at the start of the season away at Wolves and Miguel Almiron, who is still the MLS’ record departure at €24m (£20.9m) and Paraguay’s most expensive player ever also plies his trade for Newcastle in the Premier League.

Enciso, like Gonzalez, is also a product of the Libertad academy before his €11.6m (£10.1m) move made him the most expensive export ever out of the Paraguayan top flight. The 19-year-old had established himself as a regular at Brighton before his injury, registering four goals and four assists in 22 appearances so far.

Indeed, Enciso’s rapid rise should provide some confidence a belief for Gonzalez that he can break into the first team and establish himself in the Premier League.

It has now been revealed that Gonzalez has spoken to both Enciso and Almiron about adapting to life in England, with the latter being the one who has given him the most help.

Speaking to Versus, a Paraguayan paper, Gonzalez revealed Almiron’s advice.

“He told me that this is how it is, that he also went through it, that he suffered, but that from one day to the next, and at any moment, it can change, and that I have to be prepared to take advantage of that moment.

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Remaining patient

It remains to be seen when the 18-year-old eventually gets his first team opportunity at Wolves, but for now, he will take the advice Almiron has given him and will remain vigilant.

Not turning 19 until January 2024, time is on Gonzalez’s side. Under contract at Wolves until 2029 after signing a six-year deal, it is clear the midlands outfit have faith in the winger to develop into a star.

Roque Santa Cruz and the aforementioned Almiron and Enciso have all fared well in the Premier League when given the opportunity and Gonzalez may be the next in line.

Indeed, if Wolves can solidify themselves in the Premier League this season then more game time may be afforded to the youngster further down the line.

It has been a devastating blow for Wolves to lose Neto to injury – but a relief not because of a transfer after links with the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal – after his eight goal contributions in 10 Premier League games this season, but it may be the catalyst to ignite Gonzalez’s career in England.