HUNGRY JORDAN JOINS THE PACK
WOLVES winger Jordan Graham believes his patience during a ‘lost season’ in 201415 has been key to his recent success at Molineux. Now, he says, he’s ready for a battle to keep hold of his shirt.
Having joined Wolves from Midlands rivals Aston Villa on loan in October 2014,before completing a permanent deal in the January window, Graham failed to make a senior appearance throughout the entire campaign.
“For most of last season, I was training with the first team and playing with the U21s, but overall I wasn’t too far away from it all,” Graham told The FLP.
“The gaffer, however, didn’t believe I was ready to play or go out on loan and wanted me to keep training so they could monitor me. He told me to wait until the new season.
“The loan move to Oxford came at the right time, to show what I could do, and the move really worked out for me.
“I loved my time there and I was getting a lot of praise from the fans and the gaffer. What was surprising was the amount of respect the players were showing to me at the age of 20.”
A part of Villa’s 2013 title-winning Next Gen Series team, Graham is one of a trio of players who have gone on to succeed in the Football League. MK Dons’ Samir Carruthers and Daniel Johnson, of Preston, are the others.
The 20-year-old believes Villa’s struggles in the Premier League was the reason the youngsters weren’t given their chance, but all three of them are now better players for moving on.
“When me and Sammy and DJ were there, I don’t think they believed in us enough to throw us in the deep end,” he said.
“It’s not been easy for them. For the last five years or so, Villa have been down there at the bottom of the table, so putting young kids in isn’t what the fans really want and not the first thing on the manager’s mind.
“We got to the stage where we realised we couldn’t do any more than we had been doing and that the best thing for all of us was to move on – and we’ve all reaped the benefits.”
After receiving the call to make his way back to Molineux, Graham admitted he was thrilled to be involved again with the Wolves first-team but admits it was a surprise that he didn’t immediately make the starting XI.
“I came back believing I would start straight away. We had Birmingham away on Sky but I didn’t. I was on the bench and I didn’t come on.
“The same thing happened on the Tuesday night against Bristol City, so I’d gone from playing week in, week out to not playing, so the gaffer told me they were going to send me back to Oxford to give me game time.
“The next day he told me he had changed his mind and he was going to give me a go at Ipswich.
“He said he’d tried a few players on the left wing and they hadn’t really worked out, so he felt it was my time to have a go at it. I had a good game, we got a point and, ever since, I’ve kept my place.”
He notched his first professional goal in a 2-0 win at Charlton on December 28 and Wolves have won three on the bounce.
“I believe we can still get into the play-offs,” he said.
“We got a great win at Brighton and we have three of our next four in the league at home, so there are points to be picked up there.”
LIKE A WOLF: Jordan Graham evades a challenge and, inset, playing for Oxford on loan