💬 Jones: Rico Has Been Unbelievable

Gethin Jones has heaped praise on defensive colleague Ricardo Almeida Santos following the central defender’s successful debut season at Bolton Wanderers.

Santos picked up a string of accolades courtesy of his stellar performances at the back as Wanderers secured automatic promotion to Sky Bet League One.

As well as being named in the PFA’s League Two Team of the Year, the former Barnet man was also voted the fans’ Player of the Year and well as being chosen by his team-mates as the Players’ Player of the Year.

And Jones believes the tall Portugal-born defender has helped him with his own game.

He said: “Rico is unbelievable to play with and he gives me the freedom to go and enjoy myself in attack.

“I just don’t get the way he is built! He’s like a brick wall and he is absolutely rapid. I think he’s the fastest player in our squad when he gets into his stride.”

Jones was honest in his appraisal of Wanderers as a defensive unit, where after an indifferent start to the campaign, they improved as the season went on, which culminated in the deserved promotion.

He added: “Defence wise, we feel as if we’ve been solid for pretty much most of last season. There were a few slip-ups here and there and we maybe conceded some stupid set-pieces, but once we cut all that out we were unplayable.

“Towards the back end of the season teams didn’t score too many against us.”

On Wanderers’ return to League One, Jones is determined that the club will continue its upward progress.

He said: “We are not going in League One just to take part. This club is at the minimum a Championship club. It’s a massive club. The facilities are great for us lads and we’ve got everything we want to go out and enjoy our football. We just want to get the club back to where it belongs.

“As soon as we start next season, we’ll have the same targets. We want to go for it straight away. There’s no point going into it to see just how things go.

“You always have to aim high otherwise there’s no point playing football.

“As a player, you want to achieve the best you can and if you don’t set yourself high targets then I don’t get why you’d want to be in football.

“There is no room in football just to be comfortable. You just want to be the best for yourself and for the club.

“For me, getting the club back up to where it belongs is the most important thing.”

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