Date: 4th November 2008 at 12:36pm
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There weren`t many regrets when Jlloyd Samuel joined Bolton from Aston Villa before the start of last season. Not from Villa fans anyway, and as the campaign progressed it was clear to see why. The left-back, who was once called up to the England squad, was a liability. Defensively he was limited and his forays into the opposition half were disastrous as the gaps left behind were exploited.

Suggestions were made on this site as to how the situation could be remedied. Tethering him to the goalpost was one, returning him to sender under the Sale of Goods Act another. But the preferred option was to bundle the Trinidad-born player into a transit van and deposit him, bound and gagged, onto the pavement outside Villa Park.

Fast forward twelve months and things couldn`t be more different. Samuel has been Bolton`s most consistent defender. In Sunday`s game with Manchester City, he made a crucial interception, dispossessing Robinho, and at Old Trafford, his tackle on Christiano Ronaldo would have drawn equal praise, if Mr Magoo hadn`t been refereeing.

But it`s not just the last ditch tackles that are impressive. His reading of the game is much improved, and the link up play with Ricardo Gardner down the left is Bolton`s most effective attacking outlet. Witness the second goal against City.

Samuel seems to be at last fulfilling the potential that he once showed with his former employer. Only time will tell if he returns to his errant ways, but at the moment, ‘Sweetboy`, as he likes to refer to himself, looks like a bargain.


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