Max Clayton is a player who since joining Bolton Wanderers, has scored some significant goals for the club.
However, his 3 years at the club has been overshadowed by several long term injuries. With very little game time under his belt and having lost his place in the starting XI under Phil Parkinson, Max had a lot of ground to make up to get back in favour and has sadly struggled to to make much of an impact since his injuries.
This is a great shame in my opinion as when Max first joined the club, he very quickly became my favourite player, my kind of forward, a fast, skilful, young, talented player who I rated mostly based on his past.
Brought through the ranks of Crewe’s reputable youth academy and once a part of the England youth team set up, both of these points screamed out to me POTENTIAL.
When Max came in, he was immediately slotted in to the team and came up trumps with a goal against Wigan during the 3-1 win over the Latics back in 2014. However, it wasn't long before Max was sidelined with a season long injury, a massive blow as he could've been massively influential for Wanderers that season.
Since that injury, Max has struggled to be properly re-introduced into the team, having been told several times by Neil Lennon that we had to be patient with him, Wanderers fans were rapidly losing faith with Clayton having accepted the inevitability of him being on the sidelines for the foreseeable future.
Max re-gained fitness the following season and enjoyed a short 4 game stint back before picking up yet another nasty injury against Ipswich Town in an off-the-ball challenge.
This seemed like the final straw for many of the supporters as many moaned of how he was just another injury prone signing. However, I believed that Max would come good as soon as he was clear of his injury setbacks and would prove to be a key player for the whites.
His first real appearance since that game was just before Christmas this season, with Parky insisting that he had faith in Max too, the stage was set, Coventry City away, 2nd January 2017. ‘
Following a woeful first half, Parky threw on 3 strikers shortly after Half Time including Max, with the game looking dead and buried, deep in to stoppage time, Max excellently picked the ball up in the area, dummied one man, swivelled past another and smashed the ball into the roof of the net from close range to rescue a point for Bolton.
Since his heroics at Coventry, Max has once again made very few appearances, he has made a couple of substitute appearances after the Coventry game, but since then, Parkinson has gone without using him.
This in my opinion has been a waste considering his proven ability when fit.
However, others who will rightly argue that he has been knocked down the pecking order following the recent rise in form of all our current attacking options, Clayton is now out of favour completely.
As much as it may therefore make sense to let him develop and get game time elsewhere, I would be reluctant to let him go as in my eyes, the number 19 still has so much more left in him to give.
I can see from both sides why some, including myself, would love to see him stay and others would rather let him go. This ultimately seems to come down to personal opinion, so the question remains unanswered quite frankly.
In Parky’s shoes now, what’s next for Max Clayton?
Does he stay for you, or is it time to send him on his way with our best wishes?
Over to you lads and lasses.