Defender loving Premier League demands
Wolves wing-back Matt Doherty says he is relishing the opportunity to test himself at the highest level.
The 27-year-old joined Wolves in 2010 for a reported £75,000 after completing a successful trial period. He struggled for regular games in the early stages of his career at Molineux and was loaned out to Hibernian and Bury.
But he has proven to be a key figure since 2014-15 and appears to have the full faith of boss Nuno Espirito Santo.
Doherty has more freedom to get forward in Nuno's system and believes the role has allowed him to take his game to the next level.
"I absolutely love playing wing-back," Doherty said. "The licence you get going forward, obviously you still have to do your defensive work – defending is still number one.
"But the way the manager gives us the freedom to just go forward and be the highest player on the pitch at times, for a player it's the best feeling to score a goal or be involved in a goal, so it's allowed me to get into positions higher up the pitch to score more goals than I probably would have done before.
"I actually love playing wing-back and have really enjoyed the change.
"I've got a lot fitter, I'm a lot fitter this season than I have been in the past, mainly because it's a more intense league. I had to be fitter for the Championship last season and I needed to improve myself just to survive and compete in the league.
"Then in the Premier League you have to be even fitter and stronger, and I've had to make sure for my position I'm in the best shape possible, otherwise it could be a disaster.
"I wouldn't say I'm surprised at how well I've done. I'm a confident type of person anyway, so I would always back myself, but it's different to actually going to do it."
Bobbie Jackson is a reporter with an in-depth knowledge of football at all levels. A Blackpool supporter, Bobbie is also a keen rugby union, boxing, MMA and UFC follower.