NEW loan winger Steve de Ridder says Wanderers belong at the highest level alongside his parent club Southampton – not at the wrong end of the Championship where they currently lie.
The Belgium international made his debut from the bench at Watford on Saturday, just 36 hours after sealing a one-month deal at the Reebok.
And while he knew about the club before his switch north, the 25-year-old admits he was not fully appreciative of the facilities and set-up at Wanderers.
He admits his surprise at the Whites’ current position at the wrong end of the second tier.
De Ridder said: “My first impression is unbelievable. I can’t believe this club is in the Championship because it’s quite huge.
“I know, because I come from a Premier League club and this set-up is unbelievable. This club belongs at the highest level. I watch the football news as well, so I know about Bolton.
“A few of the lads at Southampton have told me about Chris Eagles, so I knew what kind of qualities a few of the lads have.
“When I knew I was coming to Bolton I read up on a few.
“I am surprised, definitely, with the position but, to be fair, it’s not unusual to see clubs like Wolves and Birmingham around us in the table. It is hard because it is a different type of football from the Premier League in the Championship.
“I hope we can start adapting.”
De Ridder’s brief cameo at Watford will, he hopes, be the first of several outings back at a level he enjoyed success at last season.
While he only has seven Saints appearances to his name this campaign, he played in 37 matches last season as Southampton secured promotion as Championship runners-up.
He wants to get back playing regualrly and believes a club like Wanderers can give him that opportunity.
He said: “When I am here I just want to make the best of it. I am not thinking about Southampton.
“I want to perform here and the rest will come.
“I did make a few appearances at the end down there, I was doing well, and I think I had come on in five out of the last six games.
“I know what level it is and I will try to be important here and not think about the rest.
“Obviously games are what I want, but also wins and trying to be a part of the club to get us a bit higher in the table.
“It was good to play some minutes (at Watford) and make my debut, but obviously the result did not go our way, so it’s off to next week.”
De Ridder’s switch late on deadline day took many Wanderers fans by surprise but the former Belgium youth international said he knew of the interest and was keen to make the move.
He added: “It was quite last minute, to be fair.
“I knew Dougie Freedman was after me for a long time but Southampton didn’t let me go for a while.
“In the end, I pushed it a bit because I needed more minutes.
“It was 10pm on deadline day when it all went through, so I am a happy man to be here.
“There were a few options but once Bolton became involved, I wanted to come here.”