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George Johnston - 10 things you might not know

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

Wanderers have added a second summer signing to their ranks in the form of Feyenoord's Scotland Under-21 defender George Johnston.

The 22-year-old defender has signed a contract tying him to the club until the summer of 2024.

Here are a few things you might not know about the Bolton's new boy.

1 – Johnston came through the academy ranks at Liverpool and played for the first team in a pre-season friendly against Torino in August 2018, coming on as a late substitute. He had signed his first professional contract with the Reds 12 months earlier.

2 – The defender played every game for Liverpool’s Under-23s as reached the UEFA Youth League quarter finals in 2017/18, having stepped up from Under-18s level a season earlier.

3 – A move to Feyenoord materialised in August 2019, reportedly on a recommendation to then-coach Jaap Stam by former Liverpool striker Dirk Kuyt. It actually went through on the same day as ex-Bolton defender Nat Phillips signed on loan for Stuttgart.

4 – The move was reported to have cost Feyenoord around £300,000, with a 30 per cent sell on fee inserted into the players’ contract.

5 – At the time, Johnston said development football at Anfield was no longer fulfilling his needs – prompting him to accept the offer of a move to Holland. I felt that U23 team football was getting too easy for me and I was getting ready for the next challenge,” he said. “When an opportunity like this came up it was just a no-brainer really.”

6 – Johnston qualifies to play for either Scotland or England – but opted to play for the Scots at Under-21 level, making his debut in March 2019 against Mexico in Marbella.

7 – The defender moved on loan to League One Wigan Athletic last season, saying he had made plenty of defensive improvement during his time on the continent.

“When I first went out there, the manager was Jaap Stam, and I took as much as I could from working with him,” Johnston told Wigan Today earlier this year.

“It was perfect with him playing in my position, because he’d help with things like positioning, awareness on the pitch, what to do in one-v-one situations.

“He wanted to play out from the back, the standard was very technical, and obviously that brought my game on as well.

“When he left, Dick Advocaat came in, so that’s two massive figures in the game who I’ve had the chance to play under.”

8 – Johnston is most comfortable playing at centre-half but can also play as a defensive midfielder and, on occasion, as a left-back.

9 – Reports in March claimed that Ipswich Town and Portsmouth were looking to sign Johnston when his contract expired this summer.

10 – He featured four times for Feyenoord in Eredivisie at the start of last season and then went on to make 22 appearances for Wigan, scoring for the Latics against MK Dons.

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