Wolverhampton Wanderers defender Max Kilman returned to the starting starting with great effect this past Sunday.
It was his first league start since February. The absence of the centre-back, signed from Maidenhead United, has bewildered many fans of the West Midlands club, especially given Wolves’ defensive woes were exposed in their 4-0 defeat to Burnley.
Following the humiliating defeat, Kilman played a bit-part role in the side’s 1-1 draw away at West Bromwich Albion. With news emerging of Willy Boly’s difficult bout with Covid-19 and the decline in form of Romain Saiss, manager Nuno Espirito Santo responded to the fans’ wishes by starting him in the weekend’s victory against Brighton and Hove Albion.
Kilman shone upon his return. According to SofaScore, he won two out of his three aerials duals, and also completed 89 per cent of his passes.
Yet it was a key moment in the second half which really pleased fans. At 1-1, Brighton threatened to break away down the left side of the Wolves half. With the towering Dan Burn charging through towards the byline, he was greeted by an exceptionally timed tackle by Kilman, nullifying one of their most dangerous breaks as the hosts were chasing the win.
The club showed their delight with his ‘desire’, as per the tweet below.
At the very least, Wolves fans will hope that he maintains his place for their next game against Tottenham Hotspur.
Looking further ahead, Kilman will be hoping to be a part of the Wolves squad next season in spite of a potential defensive overhaul during the summer transfer window.
The defender must make his case over the remaining three games in case Wolves are looking to add to the centre-back position. Even more so, to avoid being loaned out or sold from the club.
The argument to keep him over the likes of Saiss are evident, Kilman represents youth with the possibility to develop greatly. Although he is 23 and many players of his age are fully-established internationals, it must be remembered that he was plucked from non-league in only 2018.
He needs to become as experienced as possible, something that may have helped him had he been called up to Ukraine’s national team for the European Championship this summer. Qualifying through his mother who is from Kyiv, if he were to feature in a strong team at a major tournament, it would have benefitted him and Wolves.
Sadly, his involvement in England’s futsal teams means that he is unable to qualify for Andriy Shevchenko’s side. Despite that and the fact that Kilman still has to work on some aspects of his game, the future for him looks bright.