DEDRYCK Boyata is the first to admit he has had a difficult time with Wanderers.

But he insists he has learned much from his Reebok struggles and has no wish to cut short his loan spell and make a premature return to Manchester City.

The young Belgian defender was linked with a return to the Etihad Stadium after City lost the services of their captain, Vincent Kompany, for four matches following his red card in the FA Cup third round defeat to Manchester United.

But Boyata’s preferred option is to see out the season with Wanderers and continue his development as a versatile defender.

“I heard City may have wanted me to go back when Kompany got sent off,” Boyata said, acknowledging the recall rumours.

“They say they haven’t got too many defenders but they have. Against Wigan, (Nedum) Onuoha came on, so they have got solutions.

“When I heard they may be needing me there were two reactions: the first was I am going to go back and show what I can do, the second is yes, but when Kompany is coming back you are going to be outside of the team. So, you are in the same position as you were in before.

“What I am doing at Bolton and staying until the end of the season is a better solution.”

Boyata has been unable to command a regular place in Owen Coyle’s first XI, with the majority of his starts coming at right-back – his less favoured position.

So it was hardly surprising that he enjoyed his appearance at centre-back in the FA Cup replay against Macclesfield in midweek, when Coyle made five changes to the team that started at Manchester United on Saturday.

“It was only the second time I had played at centre-half – the first time was against Chelsea and I only played the first half,” he said, recalling the 5-1 hammering back in October.

Boyata scored Wanderers’ consolation goal against Chelsea just after half time, after being switched to right-back.

“I think this was a good game to show what I can do so I enjoyed it,” he said.

“I have learned how to improve my play on the right side since I have been here.

“As a centre-half, I haven’t had the chance to show what I can do until the other night.”

The 21-year-old Belgium international went on to give a mature and frank appraisal of the first half of his season-long loan, admitting that while things have not gone as well as he had hoped, he sees it as part of a valuable learning process.

“It’s been difficult,” he said. “Sometimes you have a bad start. I am on loan at a team that is struggling, but it’s good for me because I have never been in this position before.

“I have had my up and down days and I have been working on my mental side. Even though I have been on the bench or not in the side I have had to learn not to be down and to bounce back.

“For me, it’s a good challenge. When you see it from the outside you always say it can’t be easy for the players because the team is struggling. But I am here to work and fight and that’s what I’m going to do until the end of the season.”

Boyata added: “It’s not always good to be in a comfortable position all the time. Sometimes you have to be in a bad position to see how you are going to react to it.

“We are at the bottom of the league, but we are looking to bounce back.

“It won’t be easy because we have got Liverpool on Saturday and other big games coming up, but we can do it. Blackburn did it against United but we need some points soon.”