From a defensive point of view, this season has been a rotten one for Wolverhampton Wanderers.
After all, when you concede four goals to a Burnley side who often lack attacking inspiration, it doesn’t bode particularly well.
They can, of course, rue injuries to players like Willy Boly and Marcal throughout the season, but Nuno Santo’s tried and tested three-man defence hasn’t always served him well in 2020/21.
It was a dismal return as Nuno began flirting with the idea of a four-man backline. However, he hasn’t found consistency with that formation at all this term.
One player who featured heavily throughout that run was Max Kilman. The 23-year-old has enjoyed a breakthrough season with Wolves, playing 18 times in all competitions.
Unfortunately, his campaign has hit a stumbling point in recent months. The centre-back has fallen out of favour with the manager and has featured for just nine minutes in the league since the beginning of February.
Kilman has gone from a promising young defender to a man now on the verge of being sold. Reports a few months ago dictated that Nuno was ready to axe him from his plans entirely.
If that does happen, Wolves must look to their academy for reinforcements.
Christian Marques appeared on the substitute’s bench during the 1-1 draw West Brom and should be a player who earns regular first-team minutes next season.
The 18-year-old hasn’t played yet for the senior side but he is highly thought of at Compton.
Wolves beat Bayern Munich to his signature and since penning terms, he has captained the Old Gold at U18 and U23 level.
Marques has played in the Conor Coady role as a sweeper for the youth teams and it would appear that they’re grooming him to be the captain’s natural successor.
That said, they shouldn’t be hanging around to hand the teenager a chance. That’s because the Swiss is so close to being first-team ready.
Speaking to The Athletic, elite player development coach, Darren Ryan waxed lyrical about the centre-back: “It’s rare for a youngster coming from another country to show such leadership,” he started.
“That Coady role is so important in a 3-4-3 or a 3-5-2 but like Coady, he’s a leader, he’s driven and has a great mentality,” Ryan concluded.
Nuno is already providing a pathway to the matchday squad and if Marques keeps impressing, it surely won’t be too long before he’s considered ahead of Kilman.