Bolton 'not in a rush to sell' young talent amid Canaries interest in Riley

Bolton Wanderers' Regan Riley during the EFL Trophy match at Montgomery Waters Meadow, Shrewsbury.

Regan Riley in EFL Trophy action for Bolton Wanderers in October - Credit: PA

Bolton boss Ian Evatt says the Trotters are 'not in a rush to sell' following the emergence of Norwich City's interest in Regan Riley, stating that the talented young midfielder's future is not a pressing concern for him.

Football Insider reported on Thursday that the Canaries have agreed a deal in the region of £250,000 with the struggling League Two club and it's understood that City are interested in adding Riley to their academy ranks if possible.

It remains to be seen whether the 18-year-old will become a Canaries player ahead of the 11pm transfer deadline on Monday though, with Evatt avoiding speaking directly about the reported bid at his pre-match press conference ahead of a home game against Leyton Orient on Saturday.

"What I will say is (academy manager) Mark Litherland and the academy are doing a fantastic job with our younger players," Evatt told the Manchester Evening News.

"As much as physically possible I have the better younger ones and the ones that have earned the right with the performances and the way they handle themselves on and off the pitch up with us, in the first team and training with us.

"Certainly we're not in a rush to sell or anything like that. We'll do what we think is right for the football club moving forward and what's going to be of benefit."

Riley has been with his hometown club since the age of nine and has only made two senior appearances so far, during the second year of his academy scholarship - with Bolton downgrading their academy to category three status after relegation from League One, disbanding their under-23 team.

The Lancashire club were bought out by new owners in August 2019 but a 12-point deduction for going into administration contributed to their relegation from League One and they currently sit 19th in League Two.

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Former Barrow boss Evatt continued: "My role is to make this club sustainable and self-sustainable and that's important.

"This club needs to have that model and we need to develop our own to ensure that A, we develop players for our first team but B, we have a model that can make this club sustainable for the fans moving forwards and that's what the board want, that's what I want.

"The salary cap anyway, even though the fee - if there was one - could potentially go back into the cap, but for now that's an irrelevance.

"There's lots more that we need to think about rather than Regan Riley at the moment, with all due respect. Our concentration is fully focused on turning this form around and getting three points on Saturday."

Evatt had been more complimentary about Riley's prospects in October though when speaking to the Bolton News about the teen coming off the bench 37 minutes into their 2-1 defeat at Shrewsbury in the EFL Trophy group stages.

He had lost possession in the lead up to the Shrews' winner that night but Evatt had praised Riley's mental strength in recovering from that error before discussing his potential more generally.

"His data for the youth team has been exceptional and ever since I started I’ve paid a keen interest,” said the Bolton boss at the time.

“I noticed his running data is top drawer, Premier League standard. The amount of ground he covers on a matchday really is first class.

“In possession and technically it is hard to stand out in a youth team because games are slower, less intense, you don’t get the same angles as you do in first team environments.

“So when he did make the step up for us and players were making those angles for him, pushing him, he has taken to it immediately.

“He looks a better player with better players around him and against better players around him, which is a good sign.”

 

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