Ian Evatt has challenged Dennis Politic to be as breath-taking off the ball as he is on it.
The Wanderers boss is keen to instil more defensive discipline in the 21-year-old winger, who made his long-awaited return from a year-long injury in the weekend friendly win at Barrow.
Politic has already impressed coaching staff with his professional attitude and his courage during rehabilitation on his knee last year but now Evatt hopes the skilful youngster can progress his overall game to become a real contender for a regular first team spot.
“He has talent,” Evatt told The Bolton News. “He can do things that not many other people can, but the way the game is going, you have to be good out of possession.
“You can’t carry your Gazzas anymore or people like that. Yeah, there’s a part to play for them, but when we get to the big games and the top of League One, which we want to be at, we cannot afford to have passengers out of possession.
“Everyone has got to know their jobs and be drilled in those jobs and everyone’s got to trust that they’re able to do that job.
“Dennis needs to work on that side of the game, but as a footballer he takes your breath away at times. We’ve just got to work with him on the other part of it.”
Evatt likens Politic to some of the flair players who were consigned to bit part roles or Gareth Southgate’s England in the Euros.
“Before the tournament people like me were clamouring for Jack Grealish and Phil Foden, Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford, all those types to play for England in the Euros,” he said.
“They didn’t because of their out of possession stuff and because Gareth clearly trusts Mason Mount, Raheem Sterling and Bukayo Saka more out of possession.
“It isn’t the in-possession stuff, it is the out-of-possession stuff, but that’s the game now.”
Politic fought back from a serious knee injury to resume full training this summer and Evatt believes his mental strength will see him develop quickly as a player in the future.
“He really has shown great maturity really because a lot of young players, that kind of injury could send them over the edge,” he said. “Initially, he was very upset, and rightly so. But after that, he had focused his mind.
“Dennis is extremely driven for a young player. He is very career minded and career focused. He looks after his body, he trains really hard in the gym, and he has reaped the benefits of that now.
“He is back fully fit with no real issues with that knee and that is credit to the way he has rehabilitated himself.”