HomeWolves full-back Jonny exiled by O'Neil after training ground incident

Wolves full-back Jonny exiled by O’Neil after training ground incident

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Wolves full-back Jonny Otto remains exiled from their squad as the club deals with the fallout from what head coach Gary O’Neil has described as a “training ground incident”.

Jonny – a regular in Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves side which earned back-to-back seventh-placed Premier League finishes in 2018-19 and 2019-20 – has found minutes hard to come by under O’Neil.

The Spaniard has only made one Premier League appearance this season, as a late substitute in September’s surprise 2-1 win over Manchester City, with his only starts coming in EFL Cup ties against Blackpool and Ipswich Town.

The versatile 29-year-old was left out of Wolves’ squad for Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Arsenal, after which O’Neil refused to elaborate on the reason for his absence.

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On Monday, O’Neil confirmed the club was dealing with a disciplinary issue surrounding Jonny, who will not be available for Wolves’ forthcoming games.

“Jonny won’t be in the squad tomorrow. There was a training ground incident last week that’s being dealt with by the club,” O’Neil said.

“If and when he’s back available, we’ll let everyone know. At this moment he won’t be available for the coming games. I’d rather not go into details in public, the club is dealing with it.”

Asked if confrontations on the training pitch can help build spirit within a team, O’Neil said: “They can be healthy, but those ones generally aren’t dealt with.

“Anything beyond that is dealt with by myself and the club. We’re working hard to shift the club in a certain direction.

“The Jonny incident has been dealt with and we will continue to do so. My 100 per cent focus is on Burnley tomorrow.”

O’Neil is hoping to have goalkeeper Jose Sa available to face Burnley on Tuesday after he was forced off with a back issue against Arsenal, while first-choice midfielders Mario Lemina and Joao Gomes are eligible to return after serving one-match bans.

Wolves will continue to be without winger Pedro Neto, who remains the Premier League’s joint-leading assist-maker this season with seven (alongside Kieran Trippier), but O’Neil says the Portugal international is closing in on a return after suffering a hamstring injury in late October.

“He’s still working his way up to speed, he’s not with us just yet,” O’Neil said of Neto.

“He’s getting closer and he’s excited. He’s got a bounce in his step and a smile on his face around the training ground.”

Wolves have back-to-back home games this week as they welcome Burnley and Nottingham Forest to Molineux, before facing West Ham and Chelsea in their final matches before Christmas.

 

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Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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