Afolayan targets more playing time with Bolton Wanderers after leaving West Ham

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Oladapo Afolayan is hoping to play regularly for Bolton Wanderers in the 2021-22 season after permanently leaving West Ham United.

The 23-year-old completed his move away from the Hammers on Thursday after impressing during his temporary stay with the club.

Afolayan made 21 appearances for Bolton to help Ian Evatt’s side gain automatic promotion to League One and looks forward to playing consistently for the club.

“The club speaks for itself really. Growing up, even being in London, you know what a big club Bolton is. And then playing for the club – even with no fans there – you can feel how much it means to them, means to the community,” Afolayan told the Bolton News.

“It is a pleasure and a privilege to play for a club like this. For me, that was it. I played quite a lot when I was younger and then at West Ham over the last couple of years I haven’t been in and around the first team as much as I’d like.

“To come here and play as much as I did last season, hopefully, next season I can get even more under my belt with a fresh start.

“I’d always said to myself that I needed to be playing. The way my time at West Ham went, with injuries and that, it was hard for me to be able to get in that position.

“When I joined in January there was always an option to make it permanent if it went well, and it did. I knew I would be able to come if I wanted to stay, so here I am.

“I want to play at the highest level again and keep pushing. For me, I want to help the club get to where it needs to be. We can grow together. It will be tough but we’re up for the challenge.

“To get the job done and to go up automatically was massive because I am sat at home and watching the play-offs thinking ‘thank God I am not there, thank God I am not going through that,’ because it is agony watching it, I can’t imagine what it was like playing in it.

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“That spell with Bolton is probably the best I have had in my career so far. At the end of the season, a few clubs came in but from about the end of March, my mind has kind of been made up."

Afolayan has featured for England's youth teams and but he still eligible to represent Nigeria, and previously revealed his readiness to play for the Super Eagles, although he is aware he will have to deliver outstanding club performances to earn a call-up from the three-time African champions.