WANDERERS left George Thomason with the final say on whether his £1million move to Bristol City went through, or not.

Ian Evatt held talks with the 22-year-old midfielder prior to Saturday’s 3-0 win at Cheltenham Town, outlining why he wanted to keep him at the club.

City had matched Bolton’s valuation and future bonuses could have taken the final value well into seven figures, The Bolton News understands.

Evatt says player trading is part of the club’s plan for financial sustainability in the future but he insists that Thomason – or any other player – would never be pressured into moving on.

“I don’t think that will ever be the case,” he told The Bolton News.

“We put a value on a player that we think is fair for the market we are in, after that it is down to them. They should always make that final decision.

“You should never force someone out of a football club. It should be a player’s decision and we can have a discussion, tell them what we think is acceptable, what isn’t acceptable, but it is their choice.

“We put forward a case to George on why we felt he should stay. He is invested in the project, the fanbase, and he wants to be a part of it moving forwards, which is a great sign of the direction the club is heading in and the progress it has made.”

Thomason was loaned out three years ago to non-league Bamber Bridge to gain experience only handed his professional debut by Evatt in November 2020.

This summer the midfielder took the captain’s armband in Ricardo Santos and Gethin Jones’s absence and Evatt believes his current level of progress will ensure a career played at a higher level than League One.

“Number one, to reach your potential you need to have the right characteristics and his character is exceptional,” he added. “He is a fantastic, a leader and he is very focussed on having the best career he possibly can in football.

“Everyone has different motivations and that is absolutely fine but for George it is not about finance at all. It has only been about reaching his goals and playing at a place where he feels trusted and loved. We have shown him loyalty in the past and that means the world to him.

“This time around that feeling has been flipped in reverse, he has come back and shown the faith and loyalty.

“It is remarkable for a young man to be that way, and I think it should be celebrated.”