Wolves journalist Joe Edwards has slammed Rayan Aït-Nouri for his lack of defensive play at points during the season.
The 19-year-old left-back, valued at £18m on Transfermarkt, signed for the club on loan last summer, but hasn’t exactly been able to nail down a consistent role within the team, whether that be through team selection or by having his position changed due to Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo changing formations throughout the campaign.
His weaknesses showed during Wolves’ 3-2 loss at home to West Ham United on Monday night, where Ait-Nouri could only score a match rating of 6.3/10 on WhoScored. And speaking on the E&S Wolves podcast, Edwards thinks that the constant changing of positions might be hurting his game because it leaves him to abandon some of his work at the back because of his desire to go forward:
“Aït-Nouri’s just so kind of suspect defensively, he almost kind of abandons his defensive duties at times, he almost just forgets that he’s a defender.
“I think Aït-Nouri has got a bit about him, but he’s certainly not a left-back in a four yet, because when he plays there, he still plays like he’s a left wing-back with the licence of a winger almost, he needs to remember that he’s got to defend, really.”
Should Wolves sign Rayan Ait-Nouri in the summer?
No, he's not good enough
Yes, he's a class player
TIF Thoughts on Joe Edwards’ comments on Rayan Aït-Nouri…
Whilst it is good that Aït-Nouri does have some level of flexibility to his game, Edwards’ comments make it seem as though Wolves need to pick a formation and role for him and stick with it, because it’s not exactly helping him or the team if he can’t help out at the back.
At the age of 19, he is still young enough that Wolves should be able to coach up that part of his game. But for now at least, especially seeing as Wolves don’t have anything to fight for at either the top or the bottom of the league, he should be left free to play a more attacking role and give himself the best chance of earning himself a spot at the club next season.