Bolton manager Owen Coyle admits dropping Sam Ricketts at the weekend was one of the hardest decisions of his career.
Right-back Ricketts had impressed as a makeshift centre-back during Gary Cahill’s suspension, but the England defender was restored to the starting XI for the draw against West Brom on Saturday.
And Coyle admitted to Bolton Evening News: “I’ve made some big decisions in my football career but that was one of the toughest.
“Gary Cahill is a quality player but Sam Ricketts has been outstanding. I sat and tried to explain to Sam he should be disappointed because I had more than 11 players who deserved to start.
“That’s the job of being a manager.
“Sam’s got a big, big part to play at this football club, but Gary Cahill is a top centre-half.”
Coyle was full of praise for Cahill following his man-of-the-match performance against the Baggies, and continues to predict big things for the 24-year-old.
He added: “Gary Cahill has come through the disappointment (of not playing for England) against Switzerland and the sending off at Arsenal, and come back with a perfect performance.
“He’s going to be a big star and a top player for England for many years to come.”