HUN­GRY JOR­DAN JOINS THE PACK

The Football League Paper - - INSIDE - By Nick Lough

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.

Re­spect

“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.

Notched

“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.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

LIKE A WOLF: Jor­dan Gra­ham evades a chal­lenge and, in­set, play­ing for Ox­ford on loan

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