Why Bolton Wanderers team applauded Liam Edwards after late appearance


ALEX Baptiste paid tribute to the bravery shown by teammate Liam Edwards as he won a 23-month fight to save his Bolton Vagrants career.

Edwards played the role of late replacement in the 3-0 win at Rochdale in his first appearance for the Whites since January 2020, before the first lockdown.

The center-back fractured his kneecap in an accident at the training ground and has since suffered a series of operations and minor injuries that kept him from playing.

Baptiste, who celebrated the 600th appearance of his career at the Crown Oil Arena, said the team celebrated Edwards’ return to the locker room after the final whistle.

“We applauded him after the game,” he said. “No matter how bad you feel, he hasn’t played for almost two years.

“He’s here every day working his nuts, had setbacks, comes back on the grass, then has another setback.

“He looks great in training and everyone is very happy for him.

“I’ve been through it, but not to the same extent, and when you’re injured you don’t feel like part of the team. It is so hard.

“Being out for two years, and for what happened last year, it’s great to see him compete for a spot.”

Edwards was one of the Junior Whites who rose from the development team level to represent the Wanderers at the start of the 2019/20 season during the darkest financial times.

Tuesday night was only his eighth senior appearance for Bolton, but Baptiste praised his courage in coming back to the first team after such a serious injury.

“We haven’t done well lately and felt bad about it, but this boy has really walked through the mill,” he said.

“I imagine there were times when he had depression and thought his body just couldn’t take it – but it’s great character and great mental strength to come back and play. new.

“The next step for him is to get games, to push in practice, to push in reserve games, and then to push for the first team because he’s definitely capable.”

Ian Evatt also praised Edwards as he stepped off the bench to feature in the Papa John Trophy.

The Wanderers had not achieved any wins in their last five league games, but broke the cycle with a convincing performance to record their first victory at Spotland since 1985.

“I told the players there that we suffered in October – but he suffered for 23 months,” he said. “No matter how sorry we feel for ourselves, imagine what he had to do to get back on the football field. All credit goes to him because his attitude has been top notch.

Evatt wants to give Edwards space to complete his comeback with Central League games before discussing any possibility of a first-team push, or even a loan elsewhere.

“He’s just thrilled to be on the football field again and we’re not going to set any expectations on him,” he said.

“We are going to take it step by step, because when you are away during this time, it is difficult to make plans.

“Right now he’s in one piece, which is important, and his 23-month hard work and mentality has earned it.

“We should give him credit for that. ”

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