How Sheffield Wednesday boss Steve Bruce has helped Rolando Aarons get his career back on track
He may have struggled to locate the away dressing room on arrival at Bolton Wanderers - but Rolando Aarons had no such trouble finding his best form on the pitch.
The speedy winger, on loan from Newcastle United until the end of the season, produced an eye-catching, dynamic second half showing in Wednesday's 2-0 victory over the Championship strugglers.
Aarons capped an impressive individual performance by scoring the Owls' killer second goal, drilling an unstoppable left foot shot past Remi Matthews after collecting Adam Reach's well-weighted pass. It was his first goal in England since November 2017.
After his 59th minute strike, the 23-year-old continued to tease and and torment Bolton's defence. His trickery and willingness to take players on gave the hosts backline plenty to think about. Aarons ran them ragged and he received a standing ovation from the away end when he was subbed off in the closing stages.
Wednesday chief Steve Bruce was quick to praise Aarons' contribution after their first victory on the road in over a month.
"Rolando has had a real big impact on us and he capped off a memorable night by scoring," said Bruce. "I thought he was terrific in particular in the second half."
Aarons, who began his career at Bristol City before joining Newcastle's academy, made his Magpies debut against Manchester City on the opening day of the 2014/15 campaign.
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But the former England under-20 international has struggled to command a regular starting spot at his parent club, making just 27 appearances, scoring four goals.
His career has stalled in recent years, culminating in difficult loan spells with Italian side Hellas Verona and Czech outfit Slovan Liberec.
Bruce said: "His career seemed to have fallen off the cliff a little bit, so you blow him a little bit of confidence, put an arm around his shoulder and remind him what a good player he was – which I remember when he first burst onto the scene.
"I'm delighted because he's given us something we haven't got – he's got a little trick, he's quick, and he's energetic and young, and I'm delighted for him, because he's a really, really good kid."
Aarons, under contract at St James's Park until 2021, was given a 10-month jail sentence, suspended for a year, and ordered to carry out 100 hours unpaid work in 2018 after admitting affray for his part in a bar brawl.
"All this nonsense written about him, I've not seen it,” said Bruce. “He has done great since he walked through the door."