Bolton Wanderers are in ‘constant’ dialogue with Manchester City about the future of James Trafford and the potential of getting the goalkeeper back next season as Ian Evatt believes the youngster has a ‘bright future’ in the game.
The 19-year-old is well thought of at City and joined League One side Wanderers on loan for the remainder of the season in January.
He has since played ever game he has been available for and played 17 times for Bolton as he has become Wanderers’ first choice stopper.
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Trafford is under contract at City until the summer of 2023 and has made it clear that if he returns to Pep Guardiola’s side, he is not going there to return to the club’s under-23s set-up but to challenge for the first team and rival Ederson .
The young goalkeeper has got about his business diligently at Wanderers and has not really been noticed too much having not faced too many shots or made many errors.
But Evatt is pleased that it has been the case for Trafford who rates highly and believes it has a bright future in the game.
And the Bolton boss says Wanderers are in dialogue with both City and Trafford over the future, as Evatt hopes some relationships can be developed with big North West teams for promising young players to come to Wanderers in the future.
Evatt told the Manchester Evening News: “The best thing I can say about James, and I mean this in the best possible way, is that we haven’t noticed him. We haven’t noticed him because he has not made any glaring errors and he has not been overworked , which is a good sign for how our team is functioning.
“On Tuesday (vs Portsmouth) he was relatively busy but did not really make any saves that he wasn’t entitled to make. We are delighted with him, we think he has done really well.
“He has got a level head on those shoulders and you need it to be a goalkeeper, especially at Manchester City. He is progressing all the time. He is a confident young man and he believes in himself, which is great. He has got a bright future.
“The good thing is that these players have had positive experiences here and they have enjoyed themselves. The parent clubs are happy with how we have treated them and how the fans have responded to them, how they are coached.
“We are gaining that reputation now. There are conversations happening all the time – the big Category One teams, especially in the North West.
“I think they have all been very impressed with what we are doing. That is something to look forward to for the future, maybe some relationships there.
“But we are in constant dialogue with everyone involved – Traff, Man City – and will make the best decision we can.”
With the expansive style of football Wanderers play, Evatt believes it helps to attract players to the club and that the League One side are building a reputation for developing talent.
Fundamentally, Wanderers want to ultimately build their own players and build assets out on the pitch, but Evatt believes the loan market can aid Bolton in where they want to get to.
He said: “I think we are gaining a reputation for number one, looking after our players and their wellbeing, mentally and physically. But also technically and tactically, we coach them well.
“The way we play helps. We need to utilize the loan market smartly. It is not all about getting loads of loan players in, we want to build our own.
“We want to have assets on the football pitch that belong to us and develop those. But they can help, and they have helped in the last couple of years. It is about being smart with our decision-making and making sure we make the right ones.”