Bolton Wanderers manager Keith Hill says he has spoken to Stoke City about the prospect of extending winger Thibaud Verlinden’s loan deal.
Verlinden was one of several players to join Bolton on a temporary basis at the end of the summer transfer window, with the 20-year-old going onto make 16 appearances in all competitions for Wanderers, scoring three goals, the latest of which came in Bolton’s 1-1 draw at home to Shrewsbury on Sunday.
The Belgian’s loan deal is set to come to an end this month, and although it seems Hill is keen to retain the winger’s services for the second half of the campaign, the Bolton boss also appears to feel he still has plenty of work to do with Verlinden.
Speaking to the Bolton News about the situation regarding the Stoke man, Hill said: “We have spoken to Stoke, we want him to stay. But he has to understand his function for the team is as important as scoring goals.
“The unnecessary flamboyancy at times – if it isn’t backed up with hard work, it’s pointless. We end up with the Accrington results.
“He is somebody I love working with, it’s a positive challenge. He is like an elder son for me – I want to guide him, I want to help him play in the Premier League.”
Indeed, while Hill is certainly predicting big things from Verlinden in the future, it seems that for now, there is still much for the Belgian to work on the eyes of his current manager at least, as the Bolton boss continued: “I’d pay to watch Eric Cantona, I’d pay to watch Youri Djorkaeff, but Thiabud at this moment in time I’d want a complimentary!
“He will be a hell of a player, in time, but we don’t want too many mistakes on our watch. I want Bolton Wanderers to be successful as well as Thibaud, so that’s my point.
“I keep challenging him every day and sometimes it gets the better of him, sometimes it gets the better of me, but we’re good friends.”
You can certainly understand why Bolton are so keen to keep Verlinden.
Ever since his move to the club, the winger has been an important figure for Wanderers, coming up with some key moments in their fight for survival, something they will surely want to have at their disposal in the second half of the campaign.
But with Stoke themselves facing a fight to survive in the Championship, and a new manager in charge since Verlinden’s departure, you could also see why the Potters may be keen to have the Belgian themselves in the second half of the campaign, in order to exploit the potential he has shown at Bolton recently.