Bolton winger Dapo Afolayan admits he has found some of the tackles he has been on the end of tough to take, as he attracts plenty of attention from opposition defenders.
After helping Bolton win promotion from League Two during a loan spell with the club in the second half of last season, Afolayan made his move to the club permanent in the summer transfer window.
Since then, the 24-year-old has emerged as one of League One’s top performers this season, scoring seven goals in 15 league games for the Trotters.
However, that has seemingly earnt him some special treatment from some of the defenders he is coming up against, with Afolayan emerging as the target of some heavy challenges.
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Now it seems as though that is a situation the winger is still adapting to, even if he is trying to take the positives from it.
Speaking to The Manchester Evening News about that attention he is receiving from other players, Afolayan said: “It can be tough sometimes, I think. For me and the type of player that I am, I do need protection on the pitch from the officials and things like that, especially if teams are trying to do things to hurt me or get me off my game.
“But I have to think about it that there are trying to stop me because they think I’m good and it means I’m doing well.
“So in some way on the pitch, I have to take it as a compliment and keep going because if that’s what they have to resort to, then for me it means I’m doing something right. I’ve just got to keep doing it.”
Bolton and Afolayan currently sit 13th in the League One table, five points off the play-offs, and are next in action when they travel to Fratton Park to face Portsmouth on Saturday afternoon.
It is probably no surprise that Afolayan is attracting this sort of attention while on the pitch for Bolton.
The winger is one of, if not the biggest threats the Trotters have this season, so defenders will feel they are giving themselves a much better chance of a result if they are able to force him out of the game.
Indeed, with Afolayan admitting that that sort of treatment is rather tough to take, you do wonder if opposition players will now look to do this more often, to put further pressure on him.
Whether they do or not, the winger has been an outstanding asset for Bolton this season, meaning bringing him back to the club looks like an outstanding piece of business, and if he can continue to take the positives out of this, that will surely remain the case going forward.