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Random facts that give Bolton a claim on every nation in Euro 2020

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

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This summer’s Euro 2020 tournament has no direct involvement for Bolton Wanderers' players – but that is not to say fans should not stake a claim.

We scoured every squad from every nation submitted this week to find at least one link with the Whites, however tenuous, to amaze your friends whilst watching the tournament unfold this summer.

From Cristiano Ronaldo’s big break, to the reason Bolton have Turkey’s head coach to thank for one of their best deals in recent history, here is our collection of obscure Euro facts to see you through this summer’s football in style. Enjoy!


Tenuous Wanderers link (TWL): Nat Lofthouse earned his Lion of Vienna nickname after scoring twice for England in Austria in 1952.

Other than that, Marko Arautovic scored against Wanderers on his home debut for West Ham in September 2017.

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TWL: Dedryck Boyata, now at Hertha Berlin, spent a season on loan with the Whites in 2011/12. The centre-half was tipped for big things at Manchester City but it is fair to say he did not enhance his reputation with 17 appearances at the Reebok.


TWL: Luka Modric scored his last goal in English football for Tottenham against Bolton in May 2012 – a thunderous volley in a 4-1 win – before moving on to Real Madrid.


TWL: Matej Vydra has scored three times in seven appearances against the Whites for Watford and Derby County.


TWL: Take your pick of the Great Danes – Per Frandsen, Claus Jensen, Michael Johansen, Bo Hansen, Stig Tofting.

Kasper Schmiechel has played against Bolton four times in Leicester City’s Championship days including a crazy 5-3 win at the King Power Stadium.

Dougie Freedman insisted the Foxes were destined for greatness. Three years later they were Premier League champions.


TWL: Harry Kane has only played against Bolton once – and ended up on the losings side. Yes, it was for Millwall, yes, he was 18, yes he was playing on the left wing – but we are taking it.


TWL: It is three years since Jussi Jaaskelainen officially retired – but let’s face it, he could still do a job.

Incredibly, the Big Finn won 56 caps for his country having spent ages behind Antti Niemi.


TWL: Chelsea’s Kurt Zouma made the squad – and his bother Yoan was pulling on a Bolton shirt until quite recently.

On a slightly sketchier note, Paul Pogba made his debut and scored for Manchester United’s reserves against Wanderers in September 2011. Bolton’s team on the night included Ivan Klasnic, Adam Bogdan, Mark Davies, Marcos Alonso and Rodrigo!


TWL: Experienced Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos came off the bench against Bolton in his Bayern Munich days. The score finished up 2-2, and in case you needed a reminder, Kevin Davies and Ricardo Gardner put the ball in their net.

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TWL: Adam Bogdan is in the squad. The former Wanderers keeper, now 33, made 120 appearances for the club before leaving on a free transfer for Liverpool in 2015.


TWL: Italy’s head coach, Roberto Mancini, made an unscheduled stop to watch Bolton shortly after taking charge of Manchester City in 2009. Unfortunately, his name was not on the guest list, and he was refused entry until the late intervention of one of the Wanderers’ media team, who saved the club’s blushes.


TWL: This one really is niche. Dwight Lodeweges, the Dutch assistant manager, was a team-mate of Brian Kidd’s after he finished his playing days at Burnden Park and moved over the Atlantic to play for the Fort Lauderdale and Minnesota Strikers.


TWL: It is entirely feasible that Macedonian keeper, Stole Dimitrievski, watched Bolton in action when they played at Rabotnicki in the first round of the UEFA Cup in 2007. A youth teamer at the time – he broke into the first team a couple of years later and now has 41 caps. Back-up keeper, Risto Jankov, is the current Rabotnicki number one.


TWL: Had things worked out differently, Lukasz Fabianski and Wojciech Szczesny could have been signed up by Bolton in their youth.

Both players came to train at the club’s former Euxton base under the eye of legendary keeper coach Fred Barber, who had spotted them on one of his satellite soccer schools.

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TWL: Nicky Hunt look away now… Cristiano Ronaldo is still going strong for club and country but we didn’t know much about him when he made a debut for Manchester United against Bolton at Old Trafford in 2003, aged 18. The game finished 4-0, and we don’t like to talk about it.


TWL: Midfielder Aleksei Ionov was in the Zenit St Petersburg ranks when they visited the Reebok way back in 2005 for one of the most rain-soaked games in the stadium’s history.

The even more experienced Yuri Zhirkov played against the Whites for Chelsea in 2010. The only goal of that game came from a certain Nicolas Anelka.


TWL: Craig Gordon once made a save from Zat Knight playing against Bolton that some consider to be the best ever made in the Premier League.

Also, a nice hark back to a transfer tale from days gone by. Neil Lennon once enquired about taking Celtic winger James Forrest to Lancashire but was met with a public rejection by then-Hoops boss Ronny Delia, who quipped: “Why would he go to Bolton?”


TWL: There is nothing quite like an ex-Wanderer to cheer on at the Euros, and Jan Gregus is that man.

The lanky midfielder did little in his time in England following a loan move from Banik Ostrava, save for play a handful of games for the development squad. His contract did have a clause to make the deal permanent for £250,000 but the club passed on the opportunity.

Wladimir Weiss nearly fits the bill too. The winger arrived on loan from Manchester City in 2010 and made 13 appearances, 10 of which were off the bench.

Since then he has played in Scotland, Spain, Italy, Greece, Qatar and now – at the age of 31 – is back home in Bratislava.


TWL: Spain’s squad proved controversial as it lacked any Real Madrid players and took away two easy links for Bolton in Marcos Alonso and Rodrigo.

Crucially, one player still fits the bill. Thiago Alcantara, now at Liverpool, was one of Owen Coyle’s main targets in the summer of 2011. Wanderers chairman Phil Gartside flew over to Spain to try and negotiate a deal – permanent or loan – for the exciting youngster, who was then struggling to break into the Barcelona side.

The deal did not get done, but Wanderers did get a friendly against Barca’s B team 12 months later.


TWL: Bolton’s most expensive signing, Johan Elmander, is Swedish and recently celebrated his 40th birthday. He also recently retired.

An experienced squad contains a few old foes like Sebastian Larsson, once linked with a move to Wanderers in Gary Megson’s time as manager, and Pontus Jansson, who played a couple of times for Leeds against the Whites.

Jansson was also born in Arlov, the small town just outside Malmo where Bolton have twice based themselves at a pre-season training camp!


TWL: No Blerim Dzelmaili in this squad, more’s the pity, so commentators will not be able to give out the obligatory Bolton mention.

We may have to settle with Xherdan Shaqiri’s appearance for Stoke City in a pre-season friendly at the (former) Macron Stadium in 2017.


TWL: Turkey’s manager, Senol Gunes, gave Chung-Yong Lee his debut at FC Seoul in 2007 and helped him become an established South Korea international before his move to Wanderers in the summer of 2009.

“I think that the player will be a success in England,” he said at the time. “I think that his first year will not be easy but after that he will show what a good player he is. It will take time but he is a player with lots of talent.”


TWL: Most English football fans will know the Ukranian coach, Andriy Shevchenko, and recall his bang-average spell at Chelsea.

He did score against Bolton in a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge in November 2008 but Matt Taylor ensured it wasn’t a winner, levelling the scores in injury time.


TWL: Warrington-born midfielder David Brooks, now with Bournemouth, slipped the Bolton net as a youngster.

Aged 15 he arrived on trial with the Whites but did not do enough to earn a deal, moving instead to Sheffield United. The rest, as they say, is history.

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

Jaysus that was tenuous apart from Hungary and Slovakia.



wanderlust wrote:Jaysus that was tenuous apart from Hungary and Slovakia.

It was meant to be humourous more than a serious article - fair play to Iles on this one I'd say.

However if you read his last two articles on Baptiste...

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and Evatt...

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...all he has done is copied down what they said to the clubs PR team in their video interviews when they signed their new contracts a few days ago.

Rolling Eyes

Videos below if you want to check.

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