Leeds United face a trip to Wolves on Monday night and the hosts will be sweating over the availability of their strong Portuguese contingent, after their involvement on international duty over the weekend.
The 2017/18 season saw Wolves begin their rise towards European football after the appointment of Nuo Espirito Santo as manager, swiftly followed by a huge influx of talent from the Portuguese league.
Wolves romped to the league title that year and pressed on when they returned to the Premier League, securing a place in the Europa League in their first season back in the bg time.
Delivering European football along with their already hefty financial clout has meant that they have gone from strength to strength, signing big-name players such as Nelson Semedo and Daniel Podence, while also securing a deal to sign hot prospect Fabio Silva.
Leeds United, meanwhile have adopted the method of appointing a coach capable of enhancing the present squad to the point of competing, without shelling out too much to overhaul the squad.
The two sides clash on Monday night at Molineux with both sides welcoming back the bulk of their starting 11 from international duty.
Leeds’ squad boasts internationals from a host of nations while Wolves have famously leant on the influence of Portuguese talent, where a lot of their starting 11 travelled to for this weekend’s international break.
In their squad is currently Rui Patricio, Nelson Semedo, Ruben Neves, Joao Moutinho, Daniel Podence that were with the Portugal national team for their 0-0 draws against both Spain and France.
The problem that has arisen now is that star striker Cristiano Ronaldo has tested positive for COVID-19 whilst being in training with the squad. What this means for the Wolves group is that they may face potential isolation procedures to contain the spread as well as potentially receiving positive tests themselves after being in contact with him.
Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo has commented to Birmingham Live about the problem facing him and his side ahead of the Leeds visit, pointing to the cramped schedule too. He stated: “We are proud that they go to national teams, but I think the schedule is not correct. “We had them with no preparation at the beginning of the season and then they went to national teams, now that we are getting back and have some time, they go again. But this is the pandemic, and everybody has to adjust.
“I don’t speak to the national coaches. I don’t have authority to say anything about that.
“But what we try is to keep in contact and have the information of the training sessions, give them information about our players and where they are at the moment, so they can manage better, because at this time, they are their players.”
It’s a serious concern for Wolves that so many of their players were around the Portugal camp when Ronaldo was dealt this setback.
The international congestion of fixtures has done no one any favours at the start of this season, especially when these issues keep cropping up every week.
Just before this positive test, Ronaldo was kept extremely quiet by a certain Diego Llorente, who’s been sent back to Elland Road early following injury, so it may be worth keeping an eye on his status too.
There will be a microscope placed on Wolves this week as they sweat on the results of their player’s tests, with our game against them right around the corner.