Bolton Wanderers Boss Makes Important Player Decision

Ricardo Santos has been a pivotal part of Bolton Wanderer’s success since his move in Summer 2020. But after a disappointing end to last season, there are questions surrounding Santos’ future.

The 29-year-old started his career at Dagenham & Redbridge before moving to the likes of Peterborough United and Barnet.  After impressing, Bolton Wanderers would be his next destination, where he would excel in their rise to League One.

In his tenure at the Whites, he won Players Player Of The Year in 2021 and would be in the Team of the Season three seasons in a row.

With the upward trajectory of the Trotters, Santos has become a mainstay in the back five defence that saw Bolton contend for promotion. However, they would come up short twice in consecutive seasons; losing in the play-offs on both occasions.

As a result of his strong performances and leadership qualities, the 29-year-old would become club captain. After a disappointing end to the season, manager Ian Evatt has been questioned over the Portuguese defender at the club and as captain.

Santos struggled to overcome a tear in his calf muscle in the second half of last season. When talking to The Bolton News  Evatt stated:

“Players have off days, and in a private conversation, Rico would admit in the second half of the season he did not hit the heights that he did previously. He is honest enough to know that and I am honest enough to have that conversation with him.”

After the signing of Chris Forino from Wycombe, speculation has risen around the future of the defender as he enters the final year of his contract. This would lead Evatt to make it clear over his captain’s future:

“All this theory that Ricardo is leaving and Chris is his replacement is simply not true.”

Despite being confirmed to continue his stay in the North, the captaincy has not been announced yet. With his manager stating “We haven’t had those conversations yet”.

Writer’s View

With Bolton’s ambition remaining to gain promotion, keeping the 29-year-old will be crucial for these aspirations. Since his move in 2020, the defender has been at the heart of Ian Evatt’s squad and plans. This is exemplified by the accolades won in his time and his leadership qualities.

Without the centre-back, the Trotters saw a huge drop off towards the end of the season as his qualities were reduced due to injury. These issues have led the whites to gain interest in other defender such as Chris Forino and Zac Ashworth who could potentially be long term defensive options for the club.

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