Wanderers boss Ian Evatt says Ricardo Santos is “a fantastic man” but wants the defender to develop his leadership.
Santos was given the captain’s armband following Antoni Sarcevic’s shock move to Stockport County.
The defender has become an integral part of the Whites’ defence since arriving at the UniBol in the summer of 2020.
Evatt says Santos is a popular figure in the dressing room and insists he has what it takes to be a successful skipper for Wanderers.
“I think Rico is very much a working progress as captain,” said the Bolton boss. “I’ve said many times that he needs to step in and develop that side of his game, the leadership side.
“Being the type of centre back he is, that’s the next stage of his development. There are many different types of captains. You get your shouters and screamers, and Rico is certainly not that.
“But he’s well respected - when he speaks, people listen. He gives good information and he just needs to be more confident with that.
“He’s a fantastic man first and foremost, and we’re very lucky to have him here as a player and now as our captain.
“That’s who we want to represent us moving forward.”
Evatt knows what it is like to wear the armband from his time at Chesterfield, where he captained the side to promotion from League Two in 2014.
The Bolton boss insists there are many different types of leaders and wants Santos to find a style that works best for him.
“I think he’s going to lead by example with his performances,” he added. “He’s more into the personal relationships and it might be one-to-one conversations, phone calls – not necessarily shouting and calling people out, that’s not always the right thing to do.
“Sometimes the right thing to do is positive messaging, positive reinforcement, that personal touch, empathy. I think Rico will very much go down that route.”
Evatt was delighted with the character his side showed to come back from 2-0 down against Gillingham last weekend.
But he says it is vital to build on that result when they head to Fratton Park on Saturday afternoon.
The Bolton boss said: “This is a very difficult fixture and one that you look at and think, ‘that’s a tough place to go’.
“But following that, we’ve got some very good fixtures. We’ve had a rough ride with our fixture list, the last couple of months we’ve had some really difficult away games in particular.
“But in the second half of the season, we’ll have all these teams to play at home and that could play into our hands.
“For now, it’s about leaving that bad feeling behind, embracing the positivity from the second half last week and trying to get three points on Saturday.”