Josh Vela has become the face of Bolton Wanderers' new-look academy system after being rewarded with his first professional contract, despite suffering a knee injury, in March of 2011 after being a staple of the U18 and U21 teams. Vela was handed his debut by Owen Coyle in an April, 2012 FA Cup match against Swansea City, coming on in second half stoppage time.
Vela was handed his full debut in a Capital One Cup tie against Crawley Town in August of that year but suffered a knee injury in the opening minutes. He would make his return in the 2-0 away win at Sunderland in the FA Cup and would get his league debut shortly after. Vela has shown his ability as a box-to-box midfielder and has proven himself as an option for Bolton Wanderers in the absence of Stu Holden.