Gary Cahill (England)
Signed by Gary Megson for £5m in 2008, once Bolton and now Chelsea centre half Gary Cahill goes to Euro 2016 as England’s vice-Captain. With Wayne Rooney’s place in Roy Hodgson’s first eleven up for debate, we could well be seeing Cahill lead the England team out against Russia this weekend. In a home game vs Wolves, my good friend turned around and said “he’ll play for England one day”. He might just go one better this summer.
Daniel Sturridge (England)
What a strange two years it has been for ex-loanee Daniel Sturridge. At the beginning of the qualifying stage, Sturridge was the lone striker in a 4-2-3-1 formation in most England fans’ starting XI. He had started as a lone striker, and scored, in England’s opening defeat to Italy in Manaus in the 2012 World Cup in Brazil. Then Daniel Sturridge did what he does best: found himself on the sidelines. Then Harry Kane appeared. Then Vardy. Then Delle Alli. Then Eric Dier. Then Marcus Rashford. Sturridge’s place in the 23 man squad was only rescued by Roy’s decision to take 5 strikers rather than the traditional 4.
Jack Wilshere (England)
Type Jack Wilshere into google and the first predicted result is “Jack Wilshere injury”. Sadly, this says it all about Jack’s career. The swashbuckling, cultured and heavy hitting central midfielder that made 14 appearances for Wanderers at the age of 18 has become more cultured and “passing game” deep lying midfield player (whatever that is). Having made only 3 appearances this season after a broken tibia, Wilshere was something of a surprise inclusion in the final squad. Personally, I’m of the opinion that it is a joke that he is on the plane ahead of Danny Drinkwater. However, Roy tends to stick to what he likes, and he likes Wilshere.
Vladimir Weiss (Slovakia)
Seldom seen squad player in the 2009-10 season, Weiss’ career had something of an upturn, though he now plies his trade at the less prestigious Al Gharafa in Qatar. Coached previously with Slovakia under his father, also named Vladimir, Bolton fans may see him come up against England on 20th June in St Etienne. He scored one goal in qualifying in a 3-0 win against Luxembourg. I don’t think Danny Rose nor Kyle Walker will worry too much about Weiss compared to captain and opposite winger Marek Hamsik of Napoli.
Jan Gregus (Slovakia)
Staying with Slovakia, we go from the sporadic to the obscure. Jan Gregus was signed by Dougie Freedman in 2013 for the Wanderers development squad, doing very little (apart from scoring a wonder goal vs Manchester City, which you can see here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlxHJ4hj_54 ).
At the end of his year loan spell, he signed for Jablonec in Czechoslovakia. They finished seventh in the league, and lost in the cup final. But you knew that already, didn’t you?
Blerim Dzemaili (Switzerland)
It will always be a case of what if for Bolton fans and Blerim Dzemaili. Signed from FC Zurich in the summer of 2007, where he was captain, Sam Allardyce was publicly lauding him as a “special” player that “excited” him. Ooh err Mrs.
Unfortunately, he never played for Wanderers after rupturing his knee ligaments, aside from a brief substitute appearance against Sheffield United. He went on loan to Torino, signing for an undisclosed fee at the end of his season-long loan. He has since played at Parma, Napoli, Galatasaray and Genoa and will be facing France, Albania and Romania in Group A.
Jonathan Walters (Republic of Ireland)
Walters is one of those dying breeds of English Irishmen, following in the footsteps of Phil Babb, Jason McAteer and John Aldridge. He joined Bolton from rivals Blackburn Rovers, after the latter threw him out of Ewood Park for stealing from his teammates in the dressing room.
Made 4 appearances for Wanderers, before being sent out on loan to various clubs. After leaving in 2004, he spent his time at Hull and Ipswich among others before becoming a personification of Stoke City since 2010. Scored two goals to send Ireland to the Euros in their play-off with Bosnia and Herzegovina. May be utilised as a midfielder by Martin O’Neil, who seems to prefer Robbie Keane and Shane Long as his strikers. The Republic are placed in Group E with Belgium, Italy and Zlatan.
Eidur Gudjohnsen (Iceland)
Be honest, this is what you all came for, isn’t it? Eidur returned to Bolton with one goal in mind – winning his place back in the Iceland squad. After finding fitness and form at the Macron, he was welcomed back into the international squad after a six year absence. Making his second debut if you will against Kazakhstan (he’d insinuated in 2014 that he’d retired from international football), Eidur opened the scoring in a 3-0 win. He also scored in Iceland’s final Euro 2016 warm-up game, a 4-0 win against Liechtenstein.
Having Eidur back was a fairy-tale, and though my heart is still bruised from his second farewell, it would prove to be a happily ever after story should he and Iceland succeed in France. They’re in a middling Group F alongside Portugal, Hungary and Austria.