Ruben Neves doesn't know how to score ordinary goals.
The 22-year-old's equalizer from range against Manchester United last night was almost ruled out by VAR officials but thankfully for Wolves fans, and appreciators of beautiful goals alike, it stood and Neves' side claimed a point that they probably deserved on the balance of play.
Neves has a history of scoring spectacular goals for Wolves. In fact, a large majority of his 13 goals for the club have been from scored outside the box.
10 - 10 of Ruben Neves' 13 goals in all competitions for Wolves have come from outside the box; only Harry Wilson (12) and Christian Eriksen (11) have scored more from distance in English football since his debut for the club. Ranger. pic.twitter.com/q1pB5IP5Fv— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 19, 2019
Still, Neves is not regarded as a goal-scorer by any means, but if your central midfield general can score in stunning fashion as he did last night, that's only a bonus. What else does Neves bring to the engine room of football matches?
The midfield maestro 🎶
The defensive midfield role in football has evolved over the years and managers adjust the style of player they use in that position according to the tactic they wish to employ. Barcelona's legendary figure Sergio Busquets started a trend of technically-gifted, stylish defensive midfielders that replaced the more rugged, tough-tackling players.
Neves seems to be a combination of the new school and the old school. He's a good tackler and isn't scared to make fouls when his team needs him to do so, as evidenced by his yellow card against United last night. He has a great range of passing; Neves is capable of keeping it simple with short passes or lifting the ball over longer distances to pick out his onrushing fullbacks.
He can also shoot from distance with devastating effect, as United discovered to their cost last night.
"Why are you so obsessed with football?"— Wolves (@Wolves) August 19, 2019
Defensive contribution 🥾
The Portugal man is a smart reader of the game and adapts to game situations well, especially when his side doesn't have the ball. He's proactive about making interceptions and blocks so that he can get his side back on the front foot when they turn the ball over. With his great range of passing and tendency to pick out through-balls for runners ahead of him, he's got all of the tools to be a world-class central midfield operator.
Neves the complete package 📦
Ruben Neves is a midfield all-rounder with all of the key attributes to become an elite performer for club and country for the next decade. At 22, he's only likely to get better and better as he imposes his physical and technical gifts on Premier League and Portugal matches at the highest level.
It would be no surprise to see the Wolves star in the colours of a top Champions League club sooner rather than later.
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