Wolves defender Matt Doherty has admitted that he does not “feel 100% yet” after his pre-season involvement was curtailed by injury.
Speaking to the Express & Star, the 27-year-old said: “I don’t feel 100% yet to be honest. I missed all of pre-season pretty much and have come straight back into games.
“I feel a bit behind still. The only way I’ll get to where I need to be is keep training and trying to play well.”
According to the Express & Star, a knee injury had minimised Doherty’s pre-season involvement and he did not return to action until the August 8th Europa League qualifier against FC Pyunik.
Despite playing as a right-back, Doherty was Wolves’ third highest scorer last season with eight goals from 45 appearances (0.18 per game), while none of his team-mates could match his total of 10 assists (0.22 per game). [via TransferMarkt.co.uk]
In 2018/19, he had a passing success rate of 71.4% and won three aerial duels and one tackle per game. [via WhoScored.com]
In Wolves’ first two Premier League games this term, the Republic of Ireland defender struggled to match last season’s standards. Against Leicester, he completed just 16 of his 26 passes (61.5%), committed four fouls and recorded zero interceptions. [via WhoScored.com]
He was withdrawn at half-time against Manchester United last week, with his manager Nuno Espirito Santo admitting in the Daily Express that he struggled in the first half, losing all three of his aerial duels and making zero tackles or interceptions.
He was left out of the squad for last Thursday’s Europa League play-off first leg against Torino but that rest seemed to do him good, as his statistics from the weekend’s 1-1 draw with Burnley were much improved.
Doherty had a 74.3% passing success rate against the Clarets, won two tackles and made one interception. Most impressively, he won seven aerial duels on Sunday, the joint most of any player on the pitch along with Willy Boly. [via WhoScored.com]
Doherty’s attacking impetus has dropped from 2018/19’s match averages of 1.2 shots, one key pass and 0.5 dribbles to just o.3 shots per game and no dribbles or key passes this term, but the Burnley performance was a huge improvement on his previous two outings.
Adama Traore, who replaced him against Manchester United and started at right wing-back against Torino, has already registered two assists this season while Doherty has had none, although he did score in the away leg against FC Pyunik earlier this month.
Doherty might have admitted he isn’t operating at full capacity yet, but his 76-minute display against Burnley suggests that he is close to rediscovering the form that made him such a lethal right-back outlet last season.
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