Not A Patch On The Old Man – Or Is He?
Emerging Cauley A Threat To Wolves
Martin Patching watched from the sidelines as Wolves did battle with Rotherham on Saturday. He was back at the New York Stadium for the clash with another of his former clubs, Watford, tonight.
Tomorrow, though, he will be a distant follower of the action as his son takes his expected place in the Fulham squad for the visit of Kenny Jackett’s men to Craven Cottage.
It isn’t a well-known fact but Cauley Woodrow – a used substitute in the Londoners’ opening Championship game and an unused one in their second League fixture – is the 19-year-old offspring of the 1970s Molineux midfielder, who grew up a Wolves fan despite being born in the South Yorkshire area in which he resides now.
And there’s a fair bit of the ‘old man’ in him with his eye for a goal, his ability to find a gap and his emergence so young.
Patching was three weeks short of his 17th birthday when he made his Wolves first-team debut in a thumping 5-1 top-flight victory at home to Sheffield United in October, 1975.
So highly was he rated in his teenage years that he won England Schoolboy and England Youth recognition as well as being a member of the Wanderers side who reached the final of the 1975-76 FA Youth Cup.
There are likenesses now, with Woodrow reportedly becoming the first non-League player to appear for an England age-group team for 37 years when, as a Luton prospect, he scored against Romania on his debut for the national under-17s in a tournament in Portugal.
He was subsequently sold for £440,000 to a then Premier League Fulham while he was still at school, signing a deal with Mark Hughes that could push his fee past £1m dependent on his success.
He captained their under-18s to a second successive Premier Academy League in 2012-13, having scored against Blackburn when the final game of the previous season was won 5-1 in front of Martin Jol and his senior players.
Four goals on loan with Southend last season continued his education after he had started the campaign with six goals in six games for Fulham’s under-21s.
Then his big break came in the final two months as a Fulham team by now under the management of Felix Magath failed to stave off relegation back to the Championship.
Debut day came in March in a crucial six-pointer at Cardiff and he made six further appearances between then and what remained of his club’s 2013-14 programme.
“I’ve only seen him on TV so far and not in the flesh but he seems to prefer playing just off the striker and is very good at taking up positions that just seem to give him a bit of space,” Patching said.
“He scored his first goal in Fulham’s first team against Norwich in May. He cut in from the right to curl it in with his left foot. I’d see him as an attacking midfielder, although some would regard him as a striker.
“He trained with Spurs in his younger years without making the grade there but people appear to think he has a chance of making a living at the level he is at now. A Spurs scout I stay in touch with reckons he has a chance.
“I’d guess Felix Magath recalled him from his loan at Southend to have a look at him because he suspected a few of the bigger earners would move on if Fulham were relegated.”
Woodrow was born in Hemel Hempstead at a time when Patching was scouting future opponents for the Watford management team of Graham Taylor, Kenny Jackett and Luther Blissett.
The youngster was known as Cauley Woodrow-Patching until the age of three but the more familiar part of his name was dropped following the break-up of the relationship between his mother and the former Wolves player.
Another big date for the family looms in October when Fulham visit a Rotherham side who they were two divisions below only last spring.