Ex-Bolton youngster Luke Woodland joins New York Red Bulls on trial

Statue Of Liberty

The 20-year-old midfielder is hoping to kick-start his career in MLS after being released by the Championship club at the end of last season.

Former Bolton Wanderers midfielder Luke Woodland has joined the New York Red Bulls on trial, head coach Jesse Marsch has confirmed to BigAppleSoccer.com.

Woodland, 20, had been on Bolton’s book since 2003 until being released this summer without making a first-team appearance for the club.

The former England Under-18 international did feature six times for Oldham Athletic during a month-long loan spell last season, however, and also earned his first cap for the Philippines senior national team in June after switching his allegiances.

Now bidding to kick-start his club career in MLS, the ex-Trotter arrived in the States on the weekend and, having since begun training with the Red Bulls, Marsch’s first impressions of him sounded positive.

"I think he's done ok. We find that anytime someone gets thrown into our training, it is a lot," said the Red Bulls boss. "There's a little adjustment period.

“We'll give Luke a little time to adjust; today was a hard training session but not bad."

Continuing on Woodland’s qualities, Marsch added: “He can play deep in the midfield, he can play in the back. He's got some flexibility to his game, a good passer, a fairly good athlete."

If Woodland were to secure a permanent deal with the Red Bulls, though, then he might have a hard time cracking the line-up due to the current options at Marsch’s disposal.

Captain Dax McCarty, Felipe Martins and playmaker Sacha Kljestan currently make up one of the league’s strongest midfields, while backups Sean Davis and Leo Stolz are two promising rookies who could start for a number of other clubs.

Nevertheless, his ability to fill in at centre-back in a pinch would certainly be a big bonus given how of the club have struggled for defensive depth this season – despite sitting just two points behind Eastern Conference leaders D.C. United with three games in hand.

With Bradley Wright-Phillips and Lloyd Sam both enjoying success at Red Bull Arena since arriving from the English lower leagues, Woodland could well prove the next import from across the channel who ends up thriving in New York.

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