Ian Evatt believes Dennis Politic showed ‘great maturity’ during his rehabilitation and comeback from a serious knee injury but has challenged the winger to improve his out of possession work to start games again for Bolton Wanderers.

The 21-year-old made his return for Wanderers over the weekend when he came on in the second half of the pre-season friendly victory against Barrow.

He came on in the second half against the Bluebirds at Holker Street and was the first time he has played for Bolton since picking up the injury last pre-season in a friendly against Loughborough University.

READ MORE: Bolton spell ‘weird’ as former loanee outlines what he picked up from Wanderers promotion campaign

He has been on the rehabilitation trail since then and saw him return to first team training towards the end of last season, which he missed the entirety of.

Politic returned to a Bolton matchday squad for the first time since last pre-season over the weekend and got his first minutes on the pitch ahead of the 2021/22 campaign.

And Evatt paid tribute to the work Politic has done to get back to full fitness, praising his maturity and mentality despite his young age in getting back into the fray.

Evatt told the Manchester Evening News: “He’s showed great maturity really because a lot of young players, that could send them over the edge really with that kind of injury.

“Initially he was very upset and rightly so, but after that, he’d focused his mind. Dennis is extremely driven for a young player.

“He’s very career minded and career focused. He looks after his body, he trains really hard in the gym, and he’s reaped the benefits of that now.

“He’s back fully fit with no real issues with that knee and that’s credit to the way he’s rehabilitated himself.”

Politic has returned to a Wanderers squad which has serious competition for places in the final third of the pitch.

The likes of Oladapo Afolayan, Lloyd Isgrove, Ronan Darcy, Nathan Delfouneso and loanee Xavier Amaechi are all among those vying for a place on the flanks for Bolton.

And Evatt believes work still needs to be done with Politic on his out of possession work, but is under no illusions of the quality the attacker possesses ahead of the new League One season.

The Bolton boss explained: “He has talent. He can do things that not many other people can, but the way the game is going, you have to be good out of possession. You have to be.

“You can’t carry your Gazzas anymore or people like that. Yeah there’s a part to play for them, but when we get to the big games and the top of League One which we want to be at, we can’t afford to have passengers out of possession.

“Everyone has got to know their jobs and be drilled in those jobs and everyone’s got to trust that they’re able to do that job.

“Dennis needs to work on that side of the game, but as a footballer he takes your breath away at times. We’ve just got to work with him on the other part of it.”

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