THERE is no shortage of expectation placed on the broad shoulders of Wanderers loanee Caleb Taylor.

When your dad played more than 100 times in the Premier League, the manager of your parent club West Brom is tipping you to be his starting centre-half in the near future, and you are thrown straight into the deep end of a League One promotion fight at Bolton, it is sink or swim.

Thankfully, swimming is one of several sports at which the towering 21-year-old excels.

Standing well in excess of his Wikipedia-billed 6ft 2ins – more even that the 6ft 4ins his dad Martin played at in his days with Blackburn Rovers and Birmingham City, the young defender has seemingly got it all going for him.

Already attuned to this level of football after a successful season spent with Cheltenham Town on loan, Taylor answered Bolton’s SOS call in the January window when they were looking for an aerially dominant defender to anchor their back three in captain Ricardo Santos’s absence.

The loan move to Lancashire came just a week after he had been pitched into he heat of a Black Country derby in the FA Cup – a moody affair that was delayed for 35 minutes because of crowd trouble between the two rival sets of fans.

A scramble for his signature developed in the final few days of the window, upping the ante even more on his next career move. Thankfully, Taylor does not have to go far to get advice on the football side if it is all getting too much.

“It’s funny because my dad is such a relaxed guy, he doesn’t put any pressure on me. He is always chilled, and what happens, happens,” he told The Bolton News.

“It’s always my mum sliding in the comments and saying ‘your dad has played in the Premier League and you have got a long way to go.’ “He did have a great career and as I’m playing and growing up in the game I am realising more how much he actually achieved.

“When I was younger I didn’t really understand how good he was but as I’m trying to prove myself now, it’s like ‘I can see it now, he did a lot.’ “We do sit for hours and talk about his experiences in the game, and both my parents tell me you shouldn’t be surprised by anything in football.

“Even in the transfer window it was a case of ‘are you going there, are you going here?’ It was changing all the time, but they just helped keep things calm.

“It was quite concerning, to be fair, but I was more worried about not getting out on loan more than anything else. I could have maybe had four or five months of not playing many games at West Brom and that was the main thing. When I knew Bolton were in, I knew I was definitely coming here.”

Martin Taylor - ironically dubbed "Tiny" during his playing days - was a hulking centre-half who cut his teeth at Ewood Park in the late nineties and went on to play 124 times for Rovers, scoring six goals, before embarking on another top-flight stint with Birmingham City.

The physical similarities are hard to miss in father and son, unless you stand them back-to-back now, of course.

“I am taller than him now – I think he’s shrunk a little bit!" Taylor Jnr laughed.

“Earlier in his career he was quite lean, like me now. As he got older he put weight on and he was a bigger centre half, very physical, so we are quite similar in that sense."

Football may be in Taylor’s genes but as a youngster he had the pick of several sports in which to specialise, including cricket, basketball, tennis and swimming. West Brom took him on at the age of 10 and in August 2021 he lined up in a youthful Baggies side against Arsenal on his debut – marking the likes of Bukayo Saka, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Martin Odegaard in a League Cup tie which the Gunners won 6-0.

By the end of that season, however, he made his league debut, coming off the bench shortly before Zac Ashworth in a 4-0 win against Barnsley.

A season-long spell at Cheltenham followed and it was with that in mind that Taylor was so keen to leave the Hawthorns again. With game time still at a premium in the Championship, he is keen to use his time at Wanderers to push his claim back in the Midlands.

“I just want to do well, full stop. It suits both interests,” he said.

“I want to get Bolton into the Championship and coming here to learn from the players and staff here will help in my future career, definitely.

“Loan football is so important when you are a young player. I was 18 or 19 when I went to Cheltenham and it was a big thing for me going to a League One team.

“I was really happy with how it went. I got 49 games in over one season, and so I could say ‘that’s the level I need’ so it was a really good time for me and it helped me a lot.”

Carlos Corberan waited until the last possible moment to let Taylor leave, admitting that with cover short in his squad that the decision was a “risk”.

But the Spaniard also talked up the youngster’s chances of returning to the Baggies as genuine first team material if he could make use of his time at the Toughsheet Stadium.

“I know what he is like – he is a very good manager and coach and he has been a great help to me through the start of my career,” Taylor said of Corberan, who worked alongside Marcelo Bielsa at Leeds United before striking out alone with Huddersfield and Olympiakos.

“I know I haven’t played but I have definitely developed and grown into a better player. Coming in here will help me too because what the gaffer here is asking me to do is very similar to West Brom, in possession, out of possession, there are a lot of similarities.

“I feel like spending six months learning at West Brom will help me be more ‘at it’ here at Bolton.

“Having Zac here has definitely helped because he’s a mate and I can always talk to him but the other lads have been really welcoming. We were sat on the bus for three hours on the way down to Cambridge and it was like I already knew them all.

“It is a perfect time to come in because there are so many fixtures, and I’d missed so many at West Brom just not playing. To come here and know that even with squad rotation there will be plenty of opportunities to play, which is key for me.”

The ideal scenario, Taylor reflected, would be to take a promotion-winner’s medal back to West Brom and then play against Bolton in the Championship next season.

“Growing up I was ball boy at games, always watching them, I grew up wanting to make it at West Brom,” he said.

“To have played for them now in the league and in one of the biggest games you get, against Wolves, it is massive for me.

“To go back and play regularly would be a massive achievement. It is something I have dreamed of doing.”