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Former Assistant Manager Chris Evans Thinks Mark Davies Is Top-Four Material. We Examine The Claim

“I’ve known Mark and his family for many, many years and he’s a player whose potential in my view is limitless,” said Chris Evans, the former Bolton Wanderers assistant manager that brought Mark Davies through the Wolves academy and into the first team.

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With what Chris Evans says is limitless potential for the 24-year-old central midfielder, Mark Davies has failed to really find form this season. The Sheffield Wednesday win was far and away his best performance of the young season. Should Mark Davies be able to build on that performance, he can really have a major impact on the season.

Davies has had some issues in the current Bolton Squad that he cannot seem to shake and it seems to coincide with the formation that Owen Coyle puts out at the start of the match. Lately (save for the Wednesday match), Davies has been anonymous in a four-man midfield. He's not a Hollywood-ball type player and is not the kind of midfielder that will ping balls over the top of the opposition defense.

This leads to another one of his issues: lacking a killer ball. Mark Davies' game over the last few years has really been playing sideways passes rather than cutting one through the defense (a la Stuart Holden). This is really one of the reasons that Bolton have missed Stu so much as Mark Davies is seemingly unable to send the strikers through on goal and a reason why the goals dried up for the likes of Ivan Klasnic and Johan Elmander up front.

However, should Mark Davies be able to develop that capability and couple it with his knack for mazy runs, he can become something special for Bolton Wanderers.

Speaking to the Bolton News about Mark Davies, Evans believes that the young central midfielder can climb very far in football's ranks:

"I've noted that Owen Coyle regards him highly and that the club have moved to sign him to a long contract, which puts them in an excellent position.

"If Mark progresses, and I think he will, and helps Bolton back into the Premier League, then I think it's inevitable that he will play for a top-four club and for England one day.

"The club have been terrific for him, and I'd say that he has also been terrific for them. And I'd predict that their return on the original investment would be very large indeed.

"But football is an incestuous business, and I know for a fact that the big clubs who have watched him throughout his career are still looking at him now.

"At the age of 24 he's got everything going for him. His game has matured and he's striving for that consistency in a team looking to do well this season.

"I know he is happy at the club and I think a lot of credit has to go to Phil Gartside and Eddie Davies because when things are not going well, it's the big decision makers who get it in the neck. But the decision to invest in Mark back then will prove a very sound financial decision, I'm sure."

There's no question that the potential is there for Mark Davies, something that Michael Laudrup's Swansea recognized over the summer when they launched a £6 million pound bid that Bolton ultimately rejected.

"I don't see anyone outside the Premier League that matches up to him," he said. "The game has changed a lot in the last five years but for me, he is a perfect example of a modern midfielder. He wouldn't look out of place in Serie A or La Liga, where he would actually get a bit more time on the ball.

"I know he'll be disappointed that Bolton are not up there with the big boys after a long run, but knowing him, I also think he'll work hard to make sure they bounce straight back. I'm sure they can do that too."

We hope so.

"When we brought him to Bolton not many people knew of him because he'd barely played for Wolves for three years because of niggling injuries.

"But I remember sitting up in the director's box with Phil Gartside and watching his debut against Tottenham, where he came up against £25million Luka Modric, £7m Jermaine Jenas and £8m Wilson Palacios and he absolutely ran the show.

"The chairman gave me a pat on the back for that one, and I couldn't have been more proud.

"He is still only young and capable of giving Bolton a lot more years of service. He seems to have become more confident, and worked on the weaker areas of his game, and there's no doubt in my mind that he can reach the very top in this sport."