JOSH Vela has confirmed he will leave Wanderers this summer after 17 years at the club.

The midfielder joined Wanderers as a seven-year-old and went on to make 182 appearances, scoring 13 goals.

Vela announced his departure on his official Twitter account this morning.

“Hello guys, just a quick announcement I will be leaving Bolton Wanderers when my contract expires,” he wrote. “I had 17 glorious years there, came all the through the academy and then eventually went on to play in the first team, was an absolute privilege to play for the club.

“Loved every second of it, thank you to the fans for the support over the years through good and bad times. No matter what anybody says I always gave 100 per cent in that shirt in every game I played.

“Just want to thank all the staff for all their effort that they have put in over the years, and I know how it feels to them when a lad from the academy goes on to play in the first team, I’ve made some friends for life at the club and will always be a supporter of that club.

“It’s hard for me to leave the club that I have been at for 17 years, but the time has come for a new challenge for me and my family. This season hasn’t gone to plan but I’m sure the club will get back to where it belongs, I’ve enjoyed the ups and downs - a lot more ups.

“But that’s football. I want to wish everyone at the club, all the very best for the future, especially the fans because they deserve it for the continued support. All the very best, Josh Vela.”

Vela made his debut as a teenager in the Premier League, coming on as a substitute against Swansea to replace Mark Davies in April 2012.

Although injuries curtailed his progress in the first team after Wanderers dropped into the Championship, he bounced back in a loan spell at Notts County in 2014 and returned to command a regular place as a right-back under Neil Lennon the following season. In doing so he picked up The Bolton News readers’ Player of the Year trophy.

Alongside other academy graduates like Rob Holding and Zach Clough, Vela continued as a regular as Bolton dropped into League One amid financial problems but then found a new lease of life under Phil Parkinson as an attacking midfielder.

His 10 goals helped Wanderers gain automatic promotion and an immediate return to the second tier.

Vela made another 31 appearances last season, scoring a solitary goal in a 2-0 victory against promotion-bound Cardiff City. But chances dried up during the current campaign and amid rumours of a fall-out with Parkinson, he featured just 19 times.