2020 saw Pedro Neto really break through with Wolves, especially towards the end of the year.
The winger was superb for Wolves, often standing out in games where his teammates struggled.
That fine form continued into 2021, but he then suffered a broken patella in April. Neto is still recovering from that injury, and he won’t return to action until around mid-January 2022 at the earliest.
In 2021 though, Wolves fans have watched one player following in Neto’s footsteps in really breaking through for the first-team.
Max Kilman made a handful of appearances in 2020/21, starting with a fine display against Leeds United. He got man of the match against the Whites, but struggled to really nail down a place in the side under Nuno Espirito Santo.
He would make only nine league appearances in 2021 under Nuno – only six of which were starts.
But Kilman has really broken through in the second half of 2020, with Bruno Lage picking him in every single game so far this season.
He was in the starting XI from the off because Willy Boly had picked up an injury in pre-season.
And ever since that first game against Leicester, Kilman has been a staple of Wolves’ three-man defence.
Last term he was actually quite impressive when he got the chance.
But for some reason, Nuno didn’t see what the fans were seeing.
It’s a totally different story under Lage, who clearly sees Kilman as integral.
The star has been so consistent under the new manager, dominating opposition attackers both aerially and on the ground.
He has also been exceptional on the ball, picking out passes into those ahead of him and switching the play out wide via a long ball.
And occasionally, he will surge out with the ball which is fantastic to see.
Max Kilman is surely Wolves breakthrough player of 2021
Kilman, 24, has been like a new signing for Wolves.
He has had a quite simply transformative impact on that defence, overseen by new boss Lage, of course.
He has been brilliant to watch and people outside of Molineux are now starting to notice his amazing contributions.
There has been a bit of talk about him getting into the England squad, and 2022 may well be the year he finally gets the call. He is already supposedly on Gareth Southgate’s radar.