Former West Ham United starlet Dapo Afolayan has the potential to become a Premier League star, Bolton Wanderers teammate Antoni Sarcevic has told the Manchester Evening News.
If you’re a wide-eyed youngster dropped by a top-flight club, that doesn’t necessarily mean the end of your journey. It may be a bump in the road, a pesky pothole that can, and will, be overcome with the right amount of ability and attitude.
Afolayan was released by West Ham in May, just four months after scoring on debut in an FA Cup win against Doncaster Rovers.
But, just like fellow former London Stadium starlet Antony Scully, who’s now at Lincoln City, Afolayan is putting disappointment behind him and thriving in the third tier. He’s scored seven largely spectacular goals in 13 games for a Bolton side sitting four points off the top of League One.
The quicksilver winger has even been compared to Jay-Jay Okocha by some Trotters supporters thanks to his mind-bending technical quality and eye for the spectacular. It’s hard to think of a greater compliment fans can pay a Bolton player.
West Ham reject Dapo Afolayan ‘hungry’ to succeed at Bolton
“He’s a good lad and I wish nothing more than to see him playing in the Premier League. He’s got that (potential),” says Sarcevic.
“I hope he does but, if he gets us promoted first, cheers, thanks for everything Dapo!
“If he goes on to have a great career, which I’m 100 per cent sure he will, it’d be nice to say I played with him and hopefully he gets us promotion this year.
“As soon as I get the ball, he’s my go-to man. He is flying.
“I’ve seen his progression. If you think last year, I don’t know what his goals and assists were, but it wasn’t anything like what he’s done this year.
‘He’s a good lad. He’s young and he’s hungry and, as long as he keeps doing it for us on a Saturday and a Tuesday night, I’ll be there to protect him and help him. Hopefully he gets us a successful season.”
With 20 goals in just 11 games, Bolton are the second-highest goalscorers in League One. Clearly, firepower won’t be an issue with Sarcevic and Afolayan around.