Ghost's Player Appraisals. A sort of "Where do we stand" thread.

Where fellow sufferers gather to share the pain, longing and unrequited transfer requests that make being a Wanderer what it is...

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GhostoftheBok
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Ghost's Player Appraisals. A sort of "Where do we stand" thread.

Post by GhostoftheBok » Mon May 31, 2021 4:10 am

We have a transfer thread, so it's probably worth talking about where the squad stands before all that stuff gets going. This is my take on the strengths and weakness of the lot we currently have.

Matt Gilks
Excellent at what he does, but experience has taught him not to do some things that we could use in a keeper. Organisation and distribution are still top level and his positioning is excellent. No longer comes out for many crosses and can’t cover in behind as an oh-so-useful sweeper keeper. Shots low into corners have done for him on occasion. Improves us by essentially coaching the defence whilst on the pitch and would need to be replaced by a very good player, but his age does show at times.

Gethin Jones
A player who you feel is living his best life. Not fast, not strong and not technically superb, yet manages to make the absolute most of the quality he has. End product can be frustrating, but his work rate, grit and reading of the game make him effective and really likeable as a player. There are better players out there, but not a lad who will let you down. Has room to develop.

Alex Baptiste
Experienced and tough as a brick. Reads the game well, covers his defensive partner and is good with the ball at feet. If he were 25 rather than 35 he’d be the first name on the team sheet for next season, but his age shows at times and as with Gilks we will need to look at the market to see whether he’ll be starting next term. It’ll be a very good player who takes his shirt.

Ricardo Santos
Fantastic physical player with excellent technical attributes for a centre back at this level, he still has a tendency to make rash decisions in key areas and get beaten. His aerial ability covers for Gilks’ unwillingness to claim crosses, whilst Gilks’ and Baptiste’s experience spares his blushes when his reading of the game lets him down. An excellent player with the right support around him, but does need talking through some games. Very likely to start the season as first choice centre back.

Declan John
Not a Wanderer yet, but has a contract on the table and looks well capable of stepping up to League One. Works hard, doesn’t take prisoners and makes good forward runs. A player who will improve with better players around him, as his understanding of when to play one twos and how to find space isn’t always matched by his team mates. Reading at the back sometimes lets him down and he can overcommit. Would come in as first choice if he signed on, barring a miracle signing.

Harry Brockbank
Mr Utility. Has a bit of everything to his game, but isn’t exceptional at anything. Is the sort of player who will come in and rarely let you down, with a willingness to play anywhere he’s asked to and put in a shift regardless. No player wants to be seen as the perfect substitute, but he’s just that. He’s also exactly the sort of man you want in your squad if there’s an injury crisis. He is improving as a player and I do think he can raise his game again if he agrees a new deal. I think he could be an important part of the squad going forward.

Ryan Delaney
Honest lad who does a job when called upon. Doesn’t mind getting stuck in, can play a bit and will put his body on the line. Lacks the physicality of Santos, the reading of Baptiste and the technical ability of both, but as a guts and glory defender not many are going to argue with it if he gets a new deal. With Williams covering in front of him he is shielded from his biggest weakness, which is tricky lads running at him. Gilks covers his other weakness which is his lapse in defensive focus. When properly covered and marshalled he is an effective defender. I think he’s one where he needs to find another level, but I believe he has the ability to do that.

Reiss Greenidge
No.

Liam Gordon
A player who looked shellshocked and out of his depth in a Bolton Shirt, but who has reportedly done well in the National League. He has the physical attributes to be a player and I don’t want to write off a kid who was thrown into a dysfunctional side that was struggling to find a way to win. If he survives the summer without being shipped out then I will give him another chance. He will have takers after the last few months at the Daggers, so if we keep him it’s because we want to.

MJ Williams
A classic number 4 who looks to have found his calling in front of the Wanderers back four. Not the fastest, not the strongest and not the best in the air, but good enough in all departments to provide solid cover in midfield. Technically excellent for a former centre back and thus able to distribute and recycle the ball very effectively, he is a great example of how vital a good water carrier is to how Bolton play. Surprisingly good range of passing too. Let down by his concentration at times and doesn’t always see danger in time. Another who will keep his place barring a top drawer signing, but who we will want to up his levels to reach his full potential.

Kieran Lee
An excellent footballer who looks like he’d have been a top player if his body hadn’t broken down one too many times. Reads the game well, passes crisply and has superb off the ball movement. Another who will improve with better players around him. Isn’t the sort to play a 30 yard killer ball or routinely find the top corner from 20 yards, but a man who can find half a yard in surprising places and tie together a team that has other players to who can do it in the final third. His constant movement and reliable ball possession makes Evatt’s style work.

Anthoni Sarcevic
Quintessential box-to-box player whose best attributes are his work rate and desire to win, but who is probably also technically good enough for League One. Scores goals from midfield, which is invaluable, and genuinely does offer leadership on the pitch. Willing to do the dirty work, as well as run beyond the forwards to open up the game. First touch and passing can let him down and relies upon players around him offering for the ball so he doesn’t need to do too much to keep possession. Rarely plays above the level of the rest of the team, but his attitude is so good that he can win you a game even when the team is underperforming.

George Thomason
Hard working and with a good brain for the game, let down too often last season by his technical execution. George will see a pass nobody else in the midfield would have, but then knock the ball 20 yards past where he wanted it to go. If Evatt and the staff can improve that side of his game there’s no reason he can’t play at a decent level. As he gets older and his strength and stamina improve that willingness he has to run himself into the ground and get stuck in will make him a handful. For a young man I think he had an impressive breakthrough campaign.

Andrew Tutte
Dependable, solid and unspectacular. Technically good, hard working and willing to put in a tackle when he might come off worse – just a thoroughly likeable, honest pro. Not a level that will carry you to the Championship, but a player who fits Evatt’s style of play with his reliable passing and who won’t let you down when he gets the nod. Mostly held back by his lack of athleticism and his questionable reading of the game. Certainly worth his 12 month extension.

Brandon Comley
A player who never quite found himself in a Bolton shirt. Works hard, tackles well and marks impressively. Let down by his technical ability and also his football nouse. I think I’m one of the only Bolton fans who thinks there’s a player there somewhere and I think he could be a really good destroyer in the lower leagues; but he needs to up his levels massively if he wants to stay at Wanderers. Like most people, I think we’ll see him leave this summer – either on a free or loan. He may need new pastures to regain his confidence.

Ali Craword
Undoubtedly talented, with good vision and decent feet. Never produced enough in a Bolton shirt to show he should start games week-in-week-out and seemingly fell foul of management due to his work ethic. A talented enough footballer to play a role in League One, but someone who will have to show through graft that he actual wants to be here. If we got the best version of Crawford he’d be a massive asset…..big if.

Ronan Darcy
A neat and tidy technician who needs to develop physically and mentally to cut it at League One level. Ronan is clearly talented enough to be a league footballer if he can make the most of himself, but he needs to start imposing himself on games when he gets a chance. Thomason’s breaking through into the first team should be an indication to all Wanderers’ youngsters that the door is open if you show Evatt what he wants to see. Has the big advantage of not taking up a squad spot and so may see some action.

Oladapo Afolayan
Good athlete with skills and excellent work rate. You can see he’s had a good football education and he is the only player in the squad who can genuinely skin players when he’s on form. As with Thomason he sees more than he can deliver, but he’s further along in his development - as you’d expect at his age. A player who looks raw from lack of playing time, rather than held back by a lack of ability. If he fulfils his potential he can play at a high level, even if he doesn’t he will offer something to a League One team. Has to improve his end product, but a really exciting signing and will probably start a lot of games.

Dennis Politic
Clearly the pick of the bunch from the youngsters who were thrown in at the deep end. Technically sound, physically capable, able to beat a man and has an eye for spectacular goals. Still raw and there’s no knowing what player we will get back after his injury. In the best possible world we get a seriously dangerous young talent, but this season will probably be about patience and development. Whatever good we get from Dennis next term will be a bonus.

Lloyd Isgrove
Another who fits into the “hard working” and “reliable” categories. Not a winger who will wreck a fullback, but someone who will run himself into the ground to exploit mistakes made by the opposition and will always help out his right back. Needs to improve his final ball and could really do with scoring a couple more, but he offers plenty over the course of a game and doesn’t shirk his responsibilities. He earnt his new contract through graft and a winning mentality. May not be part of a promotion winning 11, but certainly good be part of a promotion winning squad. The kind of forward who allows you to maybe add one “luxury” player who can do the spectacular.

Nathan Delfouneso
Willing runner, cute with the ball and willing to adapt himself to the role he’s assigned. A proper professional. Whilst I don’t think he’ll lead us to the top of League One, I do think he’s the kind of player managers love to have available. He will come in and do a job in various positions across the front line, be a nuisance and generally create space for other players to run into. Will reliably put in a shift and tends to retain possession, which is really useful with how we play. If we are going to push on we likely need more end product in the 11, but you’re not going to be worried when Delf plays.

Eoin Doyle
A player who will score plenty and miss plenty more, frustrating at times but undeniably a good player. Eoin scored 19 in a team with no main creative outlet, which is seriously impressive; but also arguably should have been well into the upper 20s. Excellent off the ball and also really good in his link up play - his lack of pace, power and height are offset by just how well he understands his role. He will score goals in League One, but it’s whether he will miss too many as well. Another where there are better players out there, but it will take a very good player to displace him. You have to wonder how many he could score if Wanderers are able to pick up a proper playmaker or a winger with real quality in the final third. Most of his best runs last season ended with the attempt to find him hitting the first defender.


I wrote these mostly as an exercise, to get sorted in my head what I thought I had learnt from the season just gone. I think my biggest take away is that we have a lot of players whose best attributes are geared towards letting players with more end product produce that magic. We have a lot of players who will get through enough work to allow creative types to take risks with the ball. We have been really brave with the ball this season, but our quality has let us down and it has been our work rate that has allowed us to get away with that. If we can find those match winners in the summer, we have a squad full of players who can help them achieve their full potential. That also means we have a number of players who should look even better as we add more quality to the squad. Here's hoping, anyway. Genuinely interested to know what the rest of you think, especially where you think I am dead wrong.

irie Cee Bee
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Re: Ghost's Player Appraisals. A sort of "Where do we stand" thread.

Post by irie Cee Bee » Mon May 31, 2021 6:15 am

Agreed with just about all your analysis Ghost which was very good. My biggest disagreement would be with Delf who seems to have lost a lot of zest for the game 2nd Half of the season, and not sure about his appetite to do well in L1, but spot on with everything else. Looking forward to seeing Politic next season. He seems to be an exceptional talent and will make us a real attacking threat. Hope he can stay fit.

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