Owen Coyle claims Bolton Wanderers came close to re-signing Arsenal's Jack Wilshere on a season-long loan after the young midfielder spent the latter part of last season on loan at the Reebok Stadium.
England debutant Wilshere has been in the spotlight this week after national team boss Fabio Capello claimed the Arsenal man was similar in style to Andrea Pirlo and Claude Makelele. And Bolton manager Coyle says that he could tell the 19-year-old was special.
“We were within a whisker of getting him back on loan this season. But he got a chance in pre-season with Arsenal, and it's no surprise to me that he has established himself in the team very quickly, and is making his mark at international level too.
“It is fantastic to see how far he has progressed in just a year, but you could sense he was going to be special,” Coyle said, according to The Sun.
Coyle recollects Kevin Davies welcoming Wilshere to Bolton last season in his own trademark way.
“Before he came here people said he was not big or strong enough to play central midfield but we saw right off he could look after himself.
"On his first day of training my skipper, Kevin Davies, decided to welcome him in his unique style.
"Kevin is not someone who shies away from the physical side of the game, and he engineered a couple of toe-to-toe collisions with Jack.
"But Jack picked himself up and proceeded to give as good as he got. I knew from that moment he was capable of mixing it with the best, and so it has proved.”Wilshere is already 257th in the Castrol Rankings across Europe's top five leagues, up from 298th a month earlier.