The midfielder has signed a two-year contract with Conference North side Halifax Town this summer after Bolton were unable to offer him a deal.
Academy graduate Earing had made four appearances in league and cup and, reasons the Under-23s coach, would have been a useful addition to next season’s squad.
Speaking to the Halifax Courier about their new signing, Lee said: “He’s played in the first-team a couple of times. 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.”
Earing came on to the scene in the 2016/17 campaign, playing in the Checkatrade Trophy, and then in two Carabao Cup games the following season – but last term was drafted into the senior squad on only one occasion by Phil Parkinson.
Lee had seen the 20-year-old rise up the youth team ladder and feels he could have made a contribution in League One.
“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.”