Wolves left wing-back Marcal could lose his place in the team’s starting XI soon, according to journalist Luke Hatfield.
The experienced defender was signed by Nuno Espirito Santo for just £1.8m in September 2020, but he could be out about to drop out of the side under Nuno’s successor, Bruno Lage.
How has Marcal performed for Wolves this season?
The Brazilian has started all seven of the team’s league fixtures this season, and he was only substituted in one of those games.
However, his lack of attacking prowess down the left flank may be a cause for concern. The 32-year-old has only made two key passes in his seven appearances, and has completed just one successful dribble.
What has Hatfield said about Marcal?
Hatfield feels that Marcal may have benefited from his teammate Rayan Ait-Nouri recently suffering a head injury which kept him out of action briefly, and that could be why he has been playing regularly.
With Ait-Nouri back in the fold now, though, Hatfield wonders if Marcal may be replaced soon as he offers very little threat in the attacking third of the pitch.
Speaking about the potential selection dilemma facing Lage, Hatfield told GIVEMESPORT: “Marcal, he obviously doesn’t offer too much going forward, whereas Ait-Nouri does. And if that’s what Lage wants from the player in that position then yeah, I think Marcal might be watching his back a little bit.
“He’s been fortunate that Ait-Nouri’s been out with concussion, and maybe he hasn’t been too worried about his starting spot. But, Ait-Nouri, he’s a young player, he offers a lot going forward and he’s a work in progress defensively.”
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Should Marcal be dropped?
This could be a delicate balancing act for Lage.
It appears that Marcal is widely considered to be a better defender than Ait-Nouri right now, but the 20-year-old Frenchman is more accomplished from an attacking perspective. Which area of the team needs more help?
The numbers would suggest that Wolves need to improve their attacking play. They have conceded just six goals all season in the league, managing to keep two clean sheets, so their defence is not a major worry, as things stand.
Yet they have scored just five goals themselves, and if they don’t start finding the net more regularly, they could be looking nervously over their shoulders at the relegation zone as the season progresses.
Bearing this in mind, it may be wise for Lage to give Ait-Nouri a try to see if he can give the side that little bit extra going forward from the left wing.