AMERICAN Tim Ream admits he feels right at home with Wanderers after signing a new three-year deal with the club.
As The Bolton News reported in May, the classy defender has signed a new contract to stay with the Whites until 2017.
It follows a season in which he was voted player of the year, missing out by a whisker on the US squad that excelled in this summer’s World Cup.
“I certainly feel like I’ve developed as a player during my time over here,” he told the club. “And with my family, I’m settled in the local area.”
Ream played 45 times last season, showing remarkable versatility by filling in at left-back, holding midfield and in his preferred centre-half role.
The arrival of Dean Moxey is likely to mean the 26-year-old will revert to a more central role this season – with Dougie Freedman keen to harness his distribution skills from the back.
By his own admission, the former New York Red Bulls star took time to adjust to life outside the Premier League. But speaking at the end of last season, he felt he was now in the form of his career.
“From a personal point of view it was probably the best season of my career, particularly in regard to the number of appearances I’ve made and obviously my performances as well,” he said.
“Performing consistently on a weekly basis is hard to do for any league, especially the Championship with it being so demanding physically. It’s definitely been a learning curve for me.”
Privately, Ream may have been breathing a sigh of relief when Freedman finally landed a left-back last week in the form of Moxey.
But considering many people were tipping him to leave the club last summer, the defender is glad simply to have found a place in the manager’s plans.
“It was one of those things where I was happy to step in to help the team and it was something I had said prior to the season even starting,” he said after penning his new deal.
“I’m willing to do whatever I can to help the team win games and it just happened to be at left back. But I’ve just tried to hang on to that position and make it my own.
“No matter where you are playing, there is always the opportunity to learn and develop and I feel I have done that this year.”