Chirewa deserved Wolves first team debut -O’Neil

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Tawanda Chirewa

Wolves boss Gary O’Neil insists he has confidence in their young players after recently handing highly rated Zimbabwean rising star Tawanda Chirewa his first team debut.

Chirewa made his debut in the FA Cup tie with Brentford last weekend.

“It was a big call, you don’t want to set a young lad up for a fall, throw them on and they make a little mistake or give a free-kick away and Brentford score the winner,” O’Neil said when asked about Chirewa’s debut.

“You don’t want to open them up to that but Tawanda has shown enough to me in training and I was comfortable putting him on the pitch in an incredibly important moment in the game.

“I’m pleased for him and know the lads were pleased for him to get his debut. It’s a big achievement getting a debut in a team and squad as talented as this, when you’re a young lad coming through the academy. I’m pleased for him.

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 5: Gary O’Neil the head coach / manager of Wolverhampton Wanderers during the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Burnley FC at Molineux on December 5, 2023 in Wolverhampton, England. (Photo by James Baylis – AMA/Getty Images)

“I’ve seen enough to trust him in those situations and Bellegarde was flagging at that point.

“The club have made no secret of the financial position we’re in this season and I’m not one to complain about it. I understand exactly where it is.

“If we have to do well with Tawanda in the team, then it’s Tawanda. If it’s one of the other young lads, no problem.

“We’ll play with whoever we think is best and available to us and we’ll crack on.”

Chirewa, 20, has been training with the senior team in the last three months and has made match day squads in a number of matches this season.

Tawanda Chirewa

Last weekend he came on as a 90th minute substitute in a game that finished 1-1.

Chirewa becomes the latest Zimbabwean to make his senior debut this season.

Last month, Newcastle United forward Michael Ndiweni made his debut in the English Premier League, while Leicester’s Tawanda Maswanhise and Sheffield Wednesday’s Joey Phuthi also had their first senior appearances for their respective clubs last week.

Teenage starlet Ian Nyoni has also made the substitutes’ bench at Premier League giants Liverpool on a couple of occasions this season.

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