Midfielder Jack Earing has all the attributes to be a success at FC Halifax Town, according to his former coach at Bolton Wanderers.
Earing made four first-team appearances for Bolton, where he came through the club’s academy system.
The 20-year-old made his Wanderers debut August 2016 against Everton’s Under-23s in the Checkatrade Trophy.
The following season he played twice in the League Cup – playing the full 90 minutes at Crewe in the first round and then coming on as a substitute at West Ham’s Olympic Stadium.
After signing his first professional contract last summer he made just one appearance, again as a substitute, in the final game of the season at Nottingham Forest.
Bolton’s under 23 head coach David Lee, who made more than 500 career appearance for clubs including Bolton, Southampton and Wigan, said: “He’s technically very good, he’s a big, strong, athletic player.
“He’s really matured over the last couple of years.
“He’s very dexterous with his feet, left foot and right foot. He’s competitive. I think you’ve got an all-round good midfield player who I always encouraged to try and get in the box as well, so if he does that he will create an opportunity to score a goal as well.
“His best position is central midfield, but he’s got a couple depending on the formation you play.
“You can play him as a sitting midfielder, you can play him at the top of a diamond, or left or right of a central midfield two.
“He’s very dexterous that way and that’s what I like about him. He’s very adaptable because he can play confidently off his left foot and his right foot.”
Lee reckons Earing could have made the grade at Bolton if he’d been given the chance.
“He’s played in the first-team a couple of times,” he said. “He played at Crewe in a cup game and he was man-of-the-match.
“But the opportunities weren’t forthcoming for him. Personally I think he could play at League One level at this moment in time.
“It’s about opinions but I liked him and thought he could do a job at that level.”
Lee said he saw a lot of progression in Earing from when he first began working with him.
“He’s been in the academy since the age of 10,” he said. “He’s had a lot of work put into him over the last nine or 10 years, and you could see his progression.
“He just needed an opportunity to play first-team football. You can probably become a little bit stagnant if you don’t get that opportunity, and he needed either to play in our first-team or go elsewhere to play first-team football.
“Sometimes managers have thoughts and make decisions, and it didn’t look like he was going to break into the first-team while Phil (Parkinson) was in charge, and I think it’s probably best that he did move on.
“But it’s about opportunity and I think if he was given the chance at first-team level, I think he would have taken it personally.”
When asked whether Earing has got the ability to play higher, Lee said: “I think he’s got all the attributes. He’s quick, he’s athletic, he’s fit, he can play with both feet.
“He just needs to have that self-belief in his own ability, and I think once he starts playing first-team football, people will see he is a decent player and he will make an impression.
“He’s very receptive. He sometimes needs an arm round him to give him that belief and that confidence, and I suppose the man-management side of it is where it’ll be key for him to express himself.
“He has no airs and graces about him, he’s willing to learn. I just think he needs that opportunity and if he’s managed correctly, I think you’ll get the best out of him.”