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Kilman has become Wolves’ most important defender

Wolves have had solid defensive foundations to work with for the majority of their time in the Premier League, with club captain Conor Coady leading by example at the back so often.

This season, the West Midlands club have conceded just 21 goals – the fourth lowest in the entire division, with just Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City leaking less.

One man who has had a significant contribution this campaign, particularly in helping the defence become a rock-solid unit is homegrown centre-back Max Kilman, who has become one of the first names on the teamsheet.

Is Max Kilman Wolves' best defender?

Yes, he is quality!

Yes, he is quality!

No, there are better!

No, there are better!

Former Leeds striker Noel Whelan labelled him as “incredible” and “sensational” in an interview with Football Insider, while Sky Sports described him as a “revelation”, displaying how far he’s come in a short period of time.

Still without having made a single error leading to a goal in the Premier League this year, the Wolves star has made 2.31 interceptions per 90, as well as an impressive 1.35 defensive tackles per game within his own half.

However, it is his ability when in possession that is arguably the most impressive, ranking in the top 16% for dribbles completed per 90 (0.43) among central defenders in Europe’s top five leagues, the top 24% for progressive carries per game (3.60) and also the top 20% for carries into the final third per game (0.85).

For a 24-year-old defender without an England cap who has played just 48 Premier League games, keeping 14 clean sheets in that time, the statistics show just how rapidly Kilman has developed – and he is continuing to progress.

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This season, he is ranked joint fourth by SofaScore in terms of average match rating, alongside versatile Moroccan Romain Saiss, who has also had an excellent campaign.

What separates the two though in how important they are to Wolves, isn’t just statistics though, it is the fact that Kilman is a left-footer playing in a three-man defence.

Nowadays, it is becoming more and more common for clubs to use left-footed central defenders next to a right-footer, but for balance in particular, it is crucial when setting up with three defenders and wing-backs.

Despite being valued at just £8.1m by Transfermarkt, his price tag would likely be far higher than that, as Wolves have truly found themselves a gem of a homegrown left-footed wide centre back.

In other news: Forget Neto: Lage can fix big Wolves issue with rarely-seen 19yo who “catches the eye”

Article title: Kilman has become Wolves’ most important defender

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