During some idle chat regarding the upcoming Premier League season and Wolves, my wife was trying to recall the name of a certain lynchpin of last season’s title-winning campaign.
‘What’s his name again? Willy Bobbly?’ she said.
‘Bobbly Willy? You don’t want one of them.’ I responded. Cue fits of laughter. Throw in the impending arrival of Jonny on loan and I will be treading carefully with my wife where the Wolves defence is concerned.
She was of course thinking of Willy Boly, or Mr Tickle as he is affectionately known in the household due to his extraordinarily long limbs. That he manages to play football with the grace of a ballerina is frankly astounding.
I featured on talkSPORT, very early on Tuesday morning (00.30am on The Sports Bar) and I was asked who has been our most important signing of the summer. It would have been easy to advocate the likes of Rui Patricio, a fully-fledged household name and European Champion. But I think it’s important to highlight how critical it was that we tied down last season’s most prominent loanees permanently. None more so than Boly.
The system Wolves play is based largely around the three central defenders. Each position requires a player of tenacity, intelligence and excellent technical ability. Boly displays each of these characteristics to a greater level than any of the defenders at the club,
I also highlighted Boly because, frankly, nobody knows who he is. I for one, knew very little of him prior to his arrival in Wolverhampton, but having gone through a 46-game campaign I’m amazed he’s not played at this level before. The consummate ease with which he took to the Championship smacks of a player whose perception of the game is well beyond those around him. He really didn’t break sweat for the majority of the season.
Boly was the one we were jittery about, because even though we love Diogo Jota, we all know that Nuno’s team is built from the back. A player of his quality, from anywhere else in the world would likely cost another £10m. A season embedded into a system, with players he was entirely comfortable with, under a manager who understands his value is priceless.
Most of all though, you get the impression that when Barry Douglas glances over his right shoulder to the man behind him, and Conor Coady takes a look to his left, they can take solace in the fact that Willy Boly is there to take care of business. Over the course of the season, it will be of no surprise to us Wolves fans when Boly starts delivering performances of the highest quality, to match the likes of players considered ‘elite’ in defensive terms. It will be a source of much pride when Boly’s now cult level of ability on the ball shows itself against some of the top talents in the Premier League.
There probably won’t be interviews, there may not be too much blood, sweat and tears, but Big Willy Boly will be one of the players we will be able to hang our hat on next season.
So look out Premier League, Big Willy’s gonna get ya.