Wolves look to have unearthed a gem in Max Kilman, with the centre-back now a key part of Bruno Lage’s side and no doubt eyeing up a call-up to Gareth Southgate’s England squad.
The 25-year-old is a graduate of the youth academy at Wolves and was playing on loan at non-league Maidenhead United just four years ago, before returning to Molineux and establishing himself in the first team.
He has gone on to make 73 appearances for Wolves’ first team, contributing one goal and two assists, and he looks set to form a strong partnership with Nathan Collins at the heart of Lage’s defence.
Should the centre-back leave Molineux any time soon, Tim Spiers suggested that the Old Gold would reportedly demand a fee of up to £30m for the homegrown defender, which is no surprise when you consider his excellent performances in recent years.
Kilman has started each of Wolves’ Premier League games so far this season, averaging a strong 7.00 rating from WhoScored for his performances, which ranks him as the third-best player in Lage’s squad. Meanwhile, the defensive titan has won 3.2 headers per game, by far the most of anyone at Molineux so far in 2022/23.
It is rare to see Premier League sides hand youngsters regular first-team minutes but it has really paid off in Wolves’ case with Kilman, as at just 25 he could be a fixture in their first team for several years to come.
Conor Coady was full of praise for the defender in 2020 after a win against Fulham, saying: “I thought he was outstanding, but I would expect nothing else from him. He’s brilliant to have around and is a brilliant professional – he listens to the manager, he learns off the lads who’ve been playing there the last couple of years and I think you could see that today.
“But also in the games he played last season, so he’s got that experience now of playing a couple of games and you’ve seen that tonight, so I was absolutely over the moon for him.”
Therefore, considering his rise over the past few seasons from non-league to the top tier, Jeff Shi (chairman since 2017) and Wolves have definitely struck gold with Kilman when they recruited him for their academy for zero transfer cost just over four years ago.