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Rayan Ait-Nouri's impressive statistics showcase big improvement from last season

Quite a number of Wolves players are really having excellent individual seasons.

The club are flying high in the Premier League in 2021/22, which is very refreshing to see considering the slog that was last season.

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Bruno Lage has come in and done a tremendous job.

The manager is really starting to gain plaudits now as his side look to challenge for European football.

Results have been great over the last few months, and these are certainly exciting times at Molineux.

Come the end of the season, there are going to be several players vying for the hypothetical ‘most improved player’ award.

But one man who could be in that particular conversation, is Rayan Ait-Nouri.

The wing-back spent last season on loan with the club, and managed to earn himself a £10 million permanent transfer last summer (Express & Star).

He had shown flashes of quality, but one of the concerns about him in 2020/21 was his defending.

He often showed exciting attacking prowess and dazzling footwork, which he still does.

But Ait-Nouri could look a weak link at times when it came to actually defending.

This season though, the 20-year-old appears to have come on leaps and bounds in that particular area of his game.

According to The Other 14, the youngster has made 45 tackles so far this season and executed 12 interceptions, for a combined total of 57.

That actually gives him the fifth-highest combined total per 90 of all players not at a ‘Big Six’ club. Only Wilfried Ndidi, Yves Bissouma, Christian Norgaard and Mohammed Salisu are winning more.

Rayan Ait-Nouri showing huge defensive progress since signing permanently for Wolves

Few Wolves fans probably saw this kind of development coming.

Especially with Nuno Espirito Santo departing for a supposedly more attack-minded coach in Lage.

Photo by Jack Thomas – WWFC/Wolves via Getty Images

But Ait-Nouri has clearly been working very hard behind the scenes to pull that side of his game onto a par with his offensive talents.

For some context, FBref data shows Ait-Nouri actually finished last season with 46 tackles and interceptions combined (in the Premier League). So he has already surpassed his tally from last term.

Potentially, he could well become one of the league’s top wing-backs in a couple of years if he sticks around.