Kevin McNaughton makes everyone play better, says Bolton Wanderers manager Dougie Freedman
DOUGIE Freedman believes he has signed the ultimate team player in fellow Scot Kevin McNaughton.
Although the full-back’s official unveiling has been delayed because of international red tape, the defender featured for the first time since his move from Cardiff City last night as the Whites brought their Scandinavian tour to a close with a 3-2 defeat at Mjallby AIF.
Freedman acted swiftly last week to snap up his compatriot for a second spell at Bolton, funding the deal by farming out Alex Baptiste to Blackburn Rovers on a season-long loan deal.
And the Whites boss is delighted to have landed a player whom he reckons could improve his whole back four.
“What people don’t necessarily see in Kevin is that he makes people play better around him,” he told The Bolton News.
“Is he a 10 out of 10 player every week, no probably not, but he’s a very solid citizen, he’s seven out of 10.
“Players around him play at five or 10 per cent better when he’s on the pitch and when you’re working in a team, that’s all you can ask.”
McNaughton spent a successful loan spell at Bolton last season, only to plunge Freedman’s back four into disarray when he was recalled to Cardiff after Christmas.
Now back in the fold again, the Whites boss is hoping the Dundee-born defender will bring about the same calmness to his back four as he did on his first arrival last autumn.
“It was a blow last season when he got called back to Cardiff and the manager wanted to play him in the Premier League, I won’t lie,” he said.
“But when it came up that he had become available I had to again balance the books and tell Alex Baptiste very openly and honestly that I was bringing in another right-back and that I couldn’t guarantee him a first-team spot next season.
“If he wanted it, Blackburn were offering it, so we changed it around.
“That was an example of when the timing goes right. We’ve talked about it not being right with Jutkiewicz – but this was spot on.”