Wolves blog: Ryan Bennett can be next one to make big step up
Matt Doherty has rightly been getting the plaudits in recent weeks – but one player who has steadily performed for Wolves is Ryan Bennett.
Bennett has had a career that has taken him right through the English leagues, writes Tom Tracey.
Born in Essex, he was released by Ipswich as a youth-team player and taken on by Grimsby Town in 2006.
He remained in League Two until 2009, when he was snapped up by then-Championship club Peterborough. The centre-back remained there until 2012 when Paul Lambert signed him for Premier League Norwich.
Fast forward through a number of Premier League seasons to 2017 and Ryan Bennett was the first signing, on a free transfer, announced ahead of Wolves’ title-winning season.
The previous day, Paul Lambert had been relieved of his duties as head coach after weeks of speculation – and you wondered whether Bennett had been a pre-agreed Lambert signing after their previous history.
When Norwich had announced that they would be releasing seven players, you looked at Bennett and John Ruddy as two free transfers which would help any Championship club.
But as that summer progressed at Wolves, you’d probably have put Bennett as sixth choice defender behind Conor Coady, Danny Batth, Kortney Hause, Roderick Miranda and Willy Boly.
That was the way it turned out at first, with Bennett not starting a league match until the 4-0 dismantling of Burton. It took him another month, in a return to Carrow Road, to cement his spot in the first team – and he hasn’t really relinquished it since.
He infamously lost his spot to Danny Batth in a December trip to Bristol City – but after Batth got sent off early on, Bennett was brought on and scored that dramatic injury-time winner.
Since then, he has proven everyone wrong.
Batth and Miranda are currently away from the club and Hause has barely featured as Bennett has proven himself to be Mr Consistent.
Even into the Premier League, you’d still have chosen Bennett as the first to drop out of that back three, especially with Leander Dendoncker being brought in – but he hasn’t put a foot wrong despite facing last season’s top two among many other more-than-decent teams.
There is now even talk of Bennett getting an England call-up - whether this happens or not, it’s remarkable to even be talking about it. He makes up for a lack of pace with great positioning and awareness, and the cohesion he’s built with his fellow defenders has meant they are yet to be tinkered with in the league. The fact Bennett’s shirt has never come untucked is proof of his calmness in defence.
If the likes of Dendoncker are unhappy at their lack of game time, they can’t complain too much if Bennett continues to thrive in a Wolves shirt.