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Stoke City's Thibaud Verlinden on his relationship with Bolton fans

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
Thibaud Verlinden believes he formed a special relationship with Wanderers’ fans during his loan this season.

Now back at Stoke, the Belgian winger looked back at his 17 appearances for Keith Hill’s side with fondness in what was his first proper run of professional football.

"Yes, I really did (enjoy it at Bolton)," the 20-year-old told The Duck magazine.

"It was at the end of the window and I had decided that it was time for me to get regular game time. I felt that I was ready for it.

"I really enjoyed it… I had a really good connection with the Bolton fans, a lot like I have with the Stoke fans.

"I like to attack, dribble, put crosses in the box and score really… and fans like that kind of player.”

Stoke’s fans had clamoured to see the youngster given an opportunity even before his Bolton loan – but the chances looked good on his arrival back in the Potteries, where manager Nathan Jones had been replaced by the more attack-minded Michael O’Neill.

Sadly, a cruciate ligament injury would strike Verlinden down before he had chance to establish himself.

“I came back from Bolton and training was very intense under Michael O’Neill, and I have learned a lot from him and hopefully will continue to do so,” he explained.

"I came on against Preston and when I did it, I felt straight away that something was wrong - but in football things like this happen so I have to get on with it and make sure I get back stronger.

"It’s a bit early to say what will happen, but the physios are helping me a lot and it is going really well at the minute. I had a couple of players getting in touch with me after the operation who have had similar injuries - so that helped me a lot. I’ll be back playing as soon as I can.”


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