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How Do You Solve a Problem Like Josh Vela

Bolton Wanderers v Middlesbrough - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images

At the end of this season, presuming that he is a regular starter throughout, Josh Vela will have played nigh on 100 games for Bolton Wanderers.

That stat took me by surprise when I read it in the Bolton News this past week.

Vela has been long-talked of as a permanent fixture in the team, ever since his debut in April 2012 against Swansea City. However, over four years later we are still at a crossroads with Vela.

He established himself as a makeshift right back under Neil Lennon, having been forced to play in the position ahead of loanee Kevin McNaughton. Vela thrived as an energetic defender who, despite a lack of pace, showed an eagerness and desire to do the very best he could for the club.

It was thought, following that season of adjustment that Vela would move into his preferred midfield role where he would go on to fulfil the sort of potential that prompted a bid from Liverpool in his younger days.

Yet here we are, in August 2016 and we are still discussing whether Vela will 'make it' at the club.

Rumours spread a year ago, at the height of our financial crisis, that he was on the move to Cardiff City for some £750,000 though ultimately that deal wouldn't happen.

Vela's start to the 2016/17 season has brought about familiar concerns from supporters. Is he a midfielder? Should he be put back into the defence? Are we shoehorning him into the team, Wayne Rooney style, when he isn't deserving of a place?

It's a fascinating debate, one linked to a previous LOV piece about us overrating our academy graduates. I like Vela and always have - but I think doubts over whether he has kicked on sufficiently are warranted.

I would like to think that he could find his niche in midfield and go on to fulfil his potential at the club. I would hate to let him go for a song, only to see him do the very same at another team when his home is, and always has been Bolton.

Feel free to add your own thoughts below the line.