The midfield is the hub of any good football team and Wigan's has been strong for a while now. Generals like Shaun Maloney and breakthrough talents like James McCarthy have been every present in our Latics side. Each one will have an important role to run this year so here's a look at the players for the season ahead.
Honestly, I'm surprised he stayed. There was interest towards the end of last season that he may leave and with the rumour rampant that David Moyes would take Fellaini with him to Manchester United, I expected Martinez to jump at the chance to take McCarthy with him. Thankfully, he's stayed and honestly, I believe McCarthy will be the main focus in the middle this year. He's played 115 games for the team, scoring 7 times. He attacks and defends well, he's a good passer of the ball, he's fit, he works and he's determined. He's a terrific player who has really earned his name in our side, but if he truly wants to succeed in his career he cannot let the lesser league get the better of him. Just because he is top flight quality does not mean he can slack off. Personally, I don't see this happening with James, but, it has happened in the past, let's just hope it won't happen to anyone from our club.
I sometimes struggle to place Maloney in our team. He's not quite a midfielder and he's not quite an attacker, I think his talents lean more towards the attacking midfield role than a winger but each to their own. Maloney is a solid and reliable player, he's so smart with his passing and shooting and it's obvious the club would have truly suffered without him. He's played 49 games and scored 9 times, a few of which have goals beyond beautiful (the goal against Man Utd. Am I right?). Maloney is sensible, smart and most importantly dependable. He's a key talent to see us back to promotion so let's utilise him well, working with Grant Holt this year will definitely be fun to watch.
Beausejour has been a great signing for us. He's worked hard and set up some terrific plays. Some people like to criticise his lack of goals, and yes while he may not be the greatest shooter of all time, that doesn't mean he's not worthy of a spot in the team. He's played 50 games and only scored 1 but he carries a constant threat. If you ignore him he WILL score and if you apply too much pressure on him then he'll punish you with a deveasting pass. He's a very awkward player to play against and that'll be key this season.
The most consistent of our players but a valuable one none the less. Gomez worked well with Martinez's style of play so I'm a bit anxious to see how he'll fair with Coyle. Gomez is another awkward customer, he'll offer some great passing, threatening shots and brilliant runs...sometimes. One game he'll score a hat trick one week and then keep his head down for a couple of months. Even though, he's not a player to leave out of the team. With the weaker competition of the Championship I think we'll get a good display from the lad this season.
Coyle felt strongly about bringing McCann to Wigan. He played 237 games for Burnley and found the net 27 times, not bad for a midfielder. He's an experienced worker in the Championship and knows Coyle well, so I think he'll be a great addition to the team. If he can stay away from injuries then we could be on for a strong midfield line up.
I like the lad! He's a true worker and always fights for a place in the team. He's never been truly outstanding but the opposite is also true. Sometimes I think he may have struggled with the quality of some of the great players in the Premier League so a spot in the Championship we'll most likely help the lad find his feet again. Also, competition from McCann might bring out a new side to the lad. Here's hoping!
No Wigan fan is allowed to hate on Ben. Ever. He scored the most beautiful goal I have ever seen to win us the FA Cup. Not only that, he's one of the nicest players around! Ben is a solid defensive midfielder. Probably not the most graceful player in the world, but he's got a good attitude and tackles well. He's played 75 games and scored 10 times. I hope he can stay away from another horrific injury this year, I'm looking forward to seeing him play the Championship and Europe.
I enjoyed watch Espinoza work the wings for the later half of last season. I'd heard his name before a few times before he joined the club and I was delighted to see he was a good player. He's nimble and a strong presser in player. I wish he'd had more time to work under Martinez, I think he could have developed well under his style but the little time they had together seemed strong. Hopefully he'll continue his form in the Championship.
Martinez had a lot of credit for Fyvie though he only played one game for the Latics. Last season seemed to be more of a developmental time for the former Aberdeen player. Perhaps this season we'll seem him work the Championship, and here's hoping we do. Martinez saw something in the lad so he's obviously got something. I'd prefer not to send the lad out on loan, I think having a fit side with opportunities for the younger players is always important and with so many games being played this year it's the perfect time to take advantage of a hungry young player.
Redmond is still a very young player who was previously loaned out to Hamilton Academical. I'm not sure how much we'll see of him this year, most likely not much. The early stages of the League and FA Cup will be good opportunities for the lad to prove himself worthy of a first team appearance, though perhaps a loan spell at a lower leagued club will help build some experience and confidence.