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Where are they now: Academy graduate special

With the news of Bolton Wanderers academy graduate Aaron Mooy earning a move to Manchester City. I thought it would be an opportune time to catch up on where a number of ex Whites are and try to make a decent team out of them.

Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

You don't need me to tell you that Bolton Wanderers have fallen a long way in the past four years. One positive though has been the emergence of academy talents such as Zach Clough, Josh Vela and of course, Rob Holding.

But now that we're in League One, there's a few academy graduates, released in our heady Premier League (and even Championship) heights that could probably do a job for us in League One.

So many in fact, that I've decided to make a team out of them.

Just as an aside, I've not included players who have gone on to play regular Premier League football such as Jon Walters and Joey O'Brien, or those recently released such as Oscar Threlkeld and Niall Maher.

GK: Rob Lainton

So it was between him and Jay Lynch.

I always rated Lynch more when I used to watch them both play in the reserves, but his height (5'10) always seemed to be his biggest obstacle. He's now gone on to be Salford City's first choice goalkeeper and is frequently seen having "banter" with Gary Neville on Twitter.

Rob Lainton, on the other hand, was released by Bolton at the end of our first season in the Championship and was snapped up by Bury.

Despite a dreadful first season, including hilariously gifting us a last minute penalty when we played the Shakers in the League Cup, Lainton stuck at it and was an instrumental part of them getting promoted to League One in 2014/15.

However, injuries have blighted his time at Bury and he was released at the end of last season.

RB: Joe Riley

Everyone remembers Joe Riley for his brilliant debut against Stoke City, much less people remember the torrid time Jerome Thomas gave him in his next start against West Bromwich Albion.

When Neil Lennon arrived at Bolton, he decided against throwing Riley into the mix despite us having no recognised right backs, instead turning to Josh Vela among many, many others.

He joined Bury on a free transfer and became their first choice right-back. However like Lainton, this past season has been an unfortunate one for him with a mixture of injuries and poor form seeing him fall down the pecking order, now being told to find a new club.

He has scored a couple of worldies though, including this:

CB: Mark Connolly

The former reserve captain cost us £1m back in the day but never made a first team appearance.

The versatile was one of the first casualties when we dropped into the Championship but he's made a decent enough career for himself playing for Crawley Town in League One and captaining Kilmarnock last season. Again injuries have cursed him and earlier this summer he cancelled his contract a year early.

CB: Rhys Bennett

I learned whilst researching for this article that Rhys Bennett has actually just signed for Mansfield Town in League Two but I'm going to carry on.

He partnered Mark Connolly in the reserves so they'd already share chemistry in that sense and Bennett himself used to be very highly thought of.

He did manage to make 21 appearances at this level last season as well and is another who can play in a number of positions.

Another two centre backs who played together and have made decent careers for themselves are Polish pair Blazej Augustyn and Jaroslaw Fojut, but I can't see either plying their trade in League One.

LB: Chris Stokes

A real late bloomer who dropped down to non-league for a few seasons to kick start his career after being released by the Wanderers back in 2010, even having a brief spell playing for Swindon Supermarine in the 8th tier of English football.

After as many as five years at Forest Green Rovers, Coventry City surprisingly came calling in February 2015, originally as an emergency loan deal. However he's gone on to establish himself as their first choice left-back.

He has very recently landed himself in hot water for a bit of a silly tweet.

CM: Chris Basham

The guy who kept Cristiano Ronaldo in his back pocket during one of his first games in a Bolton shirt.

Basham was an odd one, he always looked decent enough but was probably given a bit of an easier time from fans by virtue of him being one of our own.

When we sold him to Blackpool for £1m, a lot of fans were annoyed, whilst others saw it as a fair amount for somebody who'd played less than 20 games in the first team.

The versatile midfielder now finds himself as the captain of Sheffield United and will be leading his team out on the opening day of the season at his old stomping ground of the Macron Stadium.

CM: Aaron Mooy

Probably a bit out of our league considering he's just signed a three-year-deal at Manchester City. He's also one of Australia's better players and has really forged a decent career for himself since leaving Wanderers.

We did actually offer Mooy a professional contract but he admirably turned it down as he felt he wouldn't get the chances in the Premier League and wanted to go to Europe to further himself.

After a few years playing in the Scottish leagues, he moved to Australia and he's gone from strength to strength, managing to score 11 goals last season and rack up an A-league record of 21 assists.

Here's a collection of said goals and assists (turn the music off though, it's a bit rubbish)

RW: Michal O'Halloran

I'll be honest, I always thought O'Halloran was nothing but pace. When Owen Coyle handed him a debut ahead of other reserve players at the time I was very surprised.

A few spells out on loan didn't convince me otherwise and a couple of years in complete limbo on Bolton's books but not even playing for the reserves looked like the end for him.

However upon leaving, he joined St Johnstone and became their best player, earning a move to Rangers just in time to help them get promoted back to the Scottish Premiership.

CAM: Andy Kellett

Yes, Kellett's naturally a full back but stick with me.

I was very disappointed to see Andy Kellett leave last season. Without any recognised wide men, I really thought he could make a name for himself in the first team.

Anyway, as we know, he was sold to Wigan Athletic and we all know how their season went.

Due to injury, Kellett played on the periphery but his best run in the team came as a number 10, with his low centre of gravity being a great asset as he scored and assisted a couple. He'd definitely be a player I'd enjoy having on loan next season.

LW: Danny Ward

Oh what could have been.

Danny Ward is probably a story of wasted talent. Be that through enjoying food a little too much or enjoying a few too many nights in J2 whilst at Bolton.

When we loaned him out to Swindon Town as they chased promotion from League One, the feedback was that we had a very special player on our hands. I couldn't wait to get him back and see him play in a Bolton shirt after catching a few of his performances on Sky Sports.

When he got loaned to Championship side Coventry City, I was again excited, another step up and it looked like we were really managing his future well. However he got injured and upon fitness was sent back down to Huddersfield Town in League One. He impressed them enough to give us £1m for his services (looking back a phenomenal deal from us) but ever since, he's never reached the heights he did whilst out on loan and has become a sub-par Championship forward, currently with Rotherham United.

ST: Matt Tubbs

And finally, he'd probably score even less goals in this league than Gary Madine will but I couldn't think of any other strikers.

Upon leaving Bolton, Tubbs made a name for himself in the non-league  before working his way back up the footballing ladder - a bit like Jamie Vardy but not as good.

He's made a name for himself as a fairly decent League Two striker and nothing more. Having said that, he did score 8 in 18 for Crawley Town in this league three years ago so you never know.