NO player in League One has been fouled more often than Dapo Afolayan, not that the revelation will surprise anyone who has been watching Bolton Wanderers since January.

The Whites winger continues to tease and frustrated opposition defenders in what has been an impressive start since swapping Premier League West Ham for the UniBol on a permanent basis in the summer.

Afolayan has three goals to his name – already his best return since switching to the professional game with the Hammers in a move from Solihull Moors in 2018.

Posed with the table of League One’s most fouled after five games, Ian Evatt could only raise a grin.

“No surprise from me, none,” he said, “and I’m sure that is the case for the fans as well.

“He’s a very talented player. He moves and runs with the ball at speed and when you run with the ball at speed and you feel contact, it’s hard to stay on your feet.

“But we’re delighted with Dapo and how he’s started the season. We still think there’s loads more to come, we still think there’s improvement there and we’re trying to add things to his game and for him to be able to mix his game up so he’s more unpredictable, but we’re delighted to have him. He’s a very talented young man.”

It is a testament to Afolayan’s impact since he signed for the club in League Two in January that he has already been compared to two of Bolton’s most revered attacking talents.

Parallels have been drawn to Jay Jay Okocha for his trickery on the ball and to El-Hadji Diouf for his innate ability to draw rash challenges from opposition defenders.

“I think that’s his style,” Evatt said. “He has that style where he’s languid in possession and then, as soon as the defender looks to commit, he manages to move the ball away and draws fouls and draws contract.

“We’re delighted to have him. He’s still got improvement to come, but we think a lot of him.”

Afolayan’s confidence appears to be on the rise but Evatt – who says the young midfielder continues to work hard on his game on the training field – is content to see him revel in the spotlight.

“When you’ve got a club and a manager that believes in you and gives you that belief, then he should play with confidence,” he said. “The best players all have that confidence and it’s borderline arrogance at times, but you have to be on that edge.

“Providing it doesn’t boil over and you become too arrogant, but the best players in the world and those types of players, you have to have belief and self-confidence otherwise you can’t do the things we’re asking you to do on a matchday.”