The Athletic’s Wolves journalist Tim Spiers believes that young defender Owen Otasowie should play in the second leg of the club’s Europa League clash with Espanyol, per the Molineux View podcast (February 25, 27:46).
The United States youngster is just 18 but has already made his first-team debut for Nuno Espirito Santo’s side.
He featured against Besiktas in the group stage of this season’s Europa League, playing 17 minutes in the 4-0 win at Molineux.
He has been on the bench three times in the Premier League, against Sheffield United, Liverpool, and Watford.
He has made 15 appearances for the U18s and has already stepped into the U23s, playing 10 times, and Spiers thinks he should play in the second leg against the Spanish side, with Wolves 4-0 up from the first leg, alongside Belgium international Leander Dendoncker and 22-year-old Max Kilman.
He said: “I would keep Dendoncker in the back three in a 3-4-3 and I’ve get Dendoncker, Kilman and Otasowie in the back three, the young American lad who’s done well and is sort of the backup to (Conor) Coady at the moment.”
There would have to be a genuinely astonishing comeback for the Liga side to progress to the Round of 16.
Wolves were totally dominant in the first leg, with Diogo Jota hitting a hat-trick and Ruben Neves also on the scoresheet.
This is a fine time, then, for Nuno Espirito Santo to rotate his starting XI and leave a number of first-team stars on the bench.
Wolves are continuing to fight for the top four – they are just five points behind fourth-placed Chelsea – and face the likes of Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Sheffield United and Chelsea before the end of the season.
If they can rest the likes of Conor Coady, their captain, in this tie, they should do it.
That surely means an opportunity for Otasowie.