MARK Davies is fast becoming Wanderers’ main attraction – but only now that he has stopped trying to be the star of the show.
That’s the verdict of Dougie Freedman, who has been delighted by the midfielder’s form since his return from long-term injury.
Davies, affectionately known as Sparky by his team-mates, came back in mid-December after 10 months on the sidelines with a knee injury and scored his first goal of the season in last weekend’s 5-1 rout of Leeds United.
The 26-year-old has found a niche on the left side of a midfield diamond in recent weeks – and Freedman puts his success down to him developing a better work ethic within the team.
“I think we’re finding out with Mark, and a few others, that’s it’s not just about talent, it’s about putting the work in,” he told The Bolton News. “The penny is dropping.
“Where I was disappointed with Mark – even last season – was that he would drift in and out of games.
“This season you are seeing him involved in either tracking back or attacking. The more Mark Davies gets involved in the game both ways, the better it is for Bolton.”
Davies had been persistently linked with moves away from the Reebok since the club dropped out of the Premier League, and came close to joining Swansea City at one stage.
But Freedman believes the former Wolves man can become a better player by blending in with the team ethic.
“I don’t think it is right for the club to have one or two star players and everyone else just be there for the ride,” he said. “It has got to be a team game, a club game and I think he is realising there is more to the game than 15 minutes, getting the ball and showing you what I can do.
“You see every day in training what Mark does and he is just starting to translate that into matches now. “He is getting more confident and we are playing a different way that gives him a more natural way of picking the ball up off the side of the midfielders and driving inside.
“He also showed he is tracking back. He is showing a fantastic attitude. We have spoken long and hard to him.”