Conor Ronan hopes to make Persistent Wolves make an impact six years after debut

Conor Ronan is back. He is keen to clarify something. No longer a child.

“I still feel like I have that reputation as a young player,” Ronan says. the athlete After making his first start for Wolverhampton Wanderers five years ago in a 1-0 win in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday against Leeds.

“It’s been six years since I first appeared at 18, and sometimes I wouldn’t say I’m treated like a boy, but since it’s been so long, I think I’m still seen as a boy.”

Perhaps that was the case when Wolverham fans saw him for the last time. But not now.

He’s 24 years old these days and has a mature look at his game.

“I like to think that I am somewhat experienced in football now in terms of playing at different levels in different countries, and I am thankful that I have had these experiences,” he says.

“I feel like everything is in the bank now, experiences playing in different places.”

Ronan’s reference to “different places” is a bit of a simplification.

Since making his debut for Wolverhampton as a substitute in the 2–0 win over Nottingham Forest in December 2016, he has made just eight appearances, including three, totaling 270 minutes for the club in the league.

He has added two matches (from the bench) in the FA Cup and two starts and three substitute matches in the League Cup.

But far from Molyneux, he has built a resume that only a few footballers can imitate.

Seventeen games for Portsmouth, 15 with Walsall and 10 for Blackpool were record loan stats for a player on his profile, but 34 games with FC DAC 1904 in the Slovakia Super Liga, 32 with Grasshoppers in the Swiss Challenge League and 29 with St Mirren in the past. The Scottish Premier League season is much less traditional.

Add to the continual progression across the Republic of Ireland age group teams up to the under-21s and the Rochdale lad has built a perfectly eclectic resume.

However, having joined Wolverhampton from his hometown club eight years ago at the age of 16, Ronan has always kept his ambitions for a boom in black and gold.

“It’s definitely always on my mind,” he says. “When I was at the clubs I was on loan to, my full focus was always on this club.

“But in the long run, there’s always been this thought process about what happens at the end of the season or what happens in January.

Will I come back or leave permanently?

“There have been all these questions being asked but I’ve always said as long as I’m a Wolverhampton player and signed with Wolves, I’d like to come back here and have a chance.

“I feel like this was the season. I had a good pre-season and now I have the opportunity.

“I had that opportunity in this match to go out and admire and I’m grateful for that.”

Ronan returned to Wolverhampton this summer after a successful season in Scotland with the expectation at the club that he would once again leave on loan.

However, the combination of strong pre-season preparations against then coach Bruno Lage, the departure of Luke Condell on loan to Swansea and late signings of midfield deals Matthews Nunes and Boubacar Traore meant Lage decided to keep Ronan.

Before his dismissal, the ex-manager spoke of a conversation with the young man in which his basic message was clear – “Calm down, keep things simple, be yourself …”.

“It comes back to being away from the club for so long and wondering if another opportunity would come,” says Ronan.

“I was desperate to be in front of the manager here and when it came it was like, ‘This is the moment, this is the opportunity! “.

“But I put a lot of pressure on myself because I was waiting for that opportunity and I think he was right in what he said – sometimes I was trying to put in a lot of effort but that conversation really calmed me down a lot.”

Lagg was gone but his decision to keep Ronan at Molineux led to Wolves’ much-anticipated return on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old has played as the most forward character in a three-man midfield, ahead of captain Ruben Neves and 20-year-old Joe Hodge.

He cleared himself well, most notably linking up with Johnny and Huang Hee-chan to force an early corner kick and hit a second-half clever Joel Robles flick from Ryan Ait Nouri’s cross.

Despite being at Neves and fellow Portuguese international Goncalo Guedes, Ronan was given the responsibility for taking free kicks and corner kicks.

Ronan came off the bench against Brighton at the weekend and made his first start in the Carabao Cup third round match against Leeds (Photo: Jack Thomas – WWFC / Wolves via Getty Images)

It was his replacement, Traore, who scored the memorable winning goal, but Ronan did enough in 65 minutes on the field to feel he took his chance.

Now that he’s made progress in convincing Lagg and interim coach Steve Davis of his value to the team, Ronan is determined to do it again with new coach Julen Lopetegui set to arrive in town on Friday.

“There is always that sense of anticipation when a new director comes along, especially in these circumstances where the new director has been announced but we are waiting for him to come and take over,” Ronan says.

“It’s such a positive mood around the camp that things are changing and we’re looking forward to starting to get back in the right direction.”

(Photo: Malcolm Cousins/Getty Images)


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