Under Nuno Espirito Santo, it can be hard for a Wolves player on the fringes of the XI to be handed a start.
The Portuguese coach has used the fewest players of any Premier League outfit this season, with only 20 men in his squad handed opportunities in England’s top-flight.
So, when the likes of Max Kilman and Morgan Gibbs-White are handed chances in the Europa League, it is surely of huge importance that they take them.
In the latter’s case, he truly ignored Nuno’s lifeline with his display against Espanyol on Thursday.
The 20-year-old – who has only made six starts this season, with four of them coming in the Europa League – started the game in Barcelona, but was hooked off after 64 minutes following an ineffective display.
From a defensive aspect, he was also ineffective, failing to record a single tackle or interception before being replaced by Pedro Neto shortly after the hour mark.
If you’re a player with just one Premier League start to your name and March is just around the corner, you simply have to be taking opportunities such as a starting berth in the Europa League Round of 32 – in Gibbs-White’s case, he truly ignored the metaphorical life ring thrown to him by Nuno.
Luckily for Wolves, they still progressed into the next round despite losing 3-2 on the night having done the business in the first leg – if they hadn’t, perhaps the spotlight on Gibbs-White would be even more intense.
With a place in the Champions League a real possibility for Nuno’s side – via the Europa League, or the Premier League as Wolves are five points off fourth – it feels unlikely that many more chances will be given to fringe players during the business end of the campaign.
Because of that, it really does feel like Gibbs-White failed to grasp a huge opportunity in ignoring Nuno’s lifeline.
In other news, Wolves must be thanking their lucky stars that this player never arrived at Molineux in January…