Paul Lambert is delighted with the impact Helder Costa has had at Wolves
Lambert believes the value of the winger, whose sunny demeanour is in stark contrast to Chelsea striker Diego Costa, will soar after he completed a permanent move to Molineux from Benfica in January.
The 23-year-old Wolves star will get his chance to shine against the Premier League champions in the last 16 of the FA Cup today with Lambert confident he will show the wisdom of the club’s decision to make his initial loan move permanent.
“It was there for the club to do and it was the right thing for the club to do because he has been such an influential player for the team,” said Lambert. “To be fair the amount of money we’ve spent on him in the modern-day game is not vast.
“He’s worth it and I think he will be a massive asset. In time that will be buttons to what his value will be. If Helder produces what he has been producing then he’s a threat without a doubt. He’s a threat whoever he plays against.
“The great thing about him is that he plays with a smile on his face. You never see him not smiling, on the pitch and off it and in his training. He likes a laugh and he’s one of those guys who has incredible talent and really quick feet.
Wolves signed Costa on a permanent basis for £13million in January
“You never know where he’s going and some of the things he does in training are incredible. He’s a big talent and what he has done in English football in a short space of time has been incredible. If there’s ever a game you want to try to perform it’s this one.”
In contrast to his namesake, Chelsea’s Costa has earned a reputation for wearing a permanent scowl on the field, but Lambert says the intensity of the Brazilian will present problems for Wolves’ defenders today.
And he is bracing his players for their toughest test yet after they claimed the Premier League scalps of Stoke and Liverpool in rounds three and four respectively.
“He’s some player and the lads have to stand up to it,” said Lambert. “If you want to play big-time football these are the kind of players you want to come up against.
“He seems to have got his game back this season and not just him. If you look at the front players, Eden Hazard, him and Pedro, if it was that three that played, are incredible.
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Helder Costa has scored 10 goals in all competitions for Wolves this season
“Costa has been a handful for everybody but we’re going to have to face it toe to toe and the lads will be up for it. They won’t shy away from it.
“The atmosphere is brilliant. It seems to be a great stadium for the sound and if we can get a foothold in it and we can get a little bit of the game it will be rocking.
“You can’t hear yourself shout sometimes on that pitch so when the lads are out there they’re going to have to handle a lot themselves.
“We’re going to have to be strong with and without the ball but it will be a special night for them. For some it will arguably be the biggest game of their careers so far. But they’ve earned the right to play it.”