Bolton captain Kevin Davies has praised youngster Tom Eaves, and predicts the young Reebok Stadium star will shine for years to come.
Eaves joined the Trotters from Oldham for £250,000, and enjoyed a positive season with the reserves last term. The 19-year-old then joined the first team's pre-season tour in the USA last month, and has impressed senior members of the camp further.
The Bolton teenager was unfortunate to pick up a knee injury in Orlando, but Davies has high hopes for the Liverpudlian when he returns to the fold.
“We didn’t see too much of him last season because I think he was groomed to make sure he was ready,” said the England international striker.
“But certainly during the pre-season, with the fitness and running, he’s looked so strong and he’s got all the attributes to be a top striker. He’s only a young boy, so if there’s anything I can do to try and help him, I will.
“The manager rates him really highly, so it’s disappointing that the injury has come when it has. But I’ve chatted to him and said there will be opportunities, so I’m sure he’ll come back okay.”
Davies joined Bolton on a free transfer in 2003 and has since played a key role as the leader of the line, scoring 61 goals for the club. The striker believes he has more to give before he steps aside for Eaves though, and has enjoyed a fantastic pre-season himself.
“I’m on fire. You’ve got to try and stay ahead of the game with all these young players," set the veteran.
“You are expected to come back at a decent level now, and it’s something I’ve been doing for years. You are asked to follow a programme and you try and set a good example. I want to be one of those at the front of the running and trying to push as hard as I can.
“It’s nice to have grabbed a couple of goals to get the confidence up. I’m feeling good because I’ve worked hard.”