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ACADEMY: THE SEASON SO FAR

PUBLISHED

16:00 7th November 2012

by Nick Taylor

A look at the progress made in Latics’ Under 21 and Under 18 teams

The hard work that goes into the development of young footballers at Wigan Athletic has been evident more than ever this season, as Latics have turned in impressive performances in both the new Under 21 and Under 18 structures as part of the Professional Development League (PDL).

 


As part of our comprehensive coverage of both teams it is time to take a glance as how they have fared so far this term.


UNDER 21s


Graham Barrow and Dennis Lawrence’s guidance for their players has seen them unbeaten at home this season and six players who have been involved with the squad have earned loan moves to Football League sides, including Jordan Mustoe (Morecambe), Rob Kiernan (Burton Albion), Roman Golobart (Tranmere Rovers), Lee Nicholls (Northampton Town), Nouha Dicko (Blackpool) and Ryan Watson (Accrington Stanley).


The season started with the summer additions of Spanish pair Guillermo Andres and Eduard Campabadal and the arrival of Slovakian forward Filip Orsula.


Four players were also permanently added to the squad from last year’s Under 18s, with Jack Phillips, Abubakar Sheego, Rakish Bingham and Jonathan Lynch joining Young Player of the Year Tim Chow in a vibrant Under 21 squad.


Coinciding with the influx of younger players, there has also been the influence of first team professionals as Callum McManaman, Danny Redmond, Rob Kiernan and Roman Golobart have aided team progression with impressive performances.


The fluid and attacking style of the team has matched up well to the physical opposition they have faced so far in the PDL, with the highlight of the season so far coming in the form of a 5-0 victory over Nottingham Forest.


On that day the team was heavily influenced by first teamers such as Mauro Boselli who scored a hat-trick and Ben Watson who netted a free kick as they filled the valid ‘over-age’ slots in the side.


The score line against Forest though is an indication of how well the regular Under 21 players having been performing and their progressive build up play and control of possession has been a great example of how the style of the first team is filtering to all levels of the Club.


[Click here] to see a more comprehensive look at the fixtures and results from the season so far.


UNDER 18s


This season marks John Doolan’s first full campaign in charge of the Under 18s after he came back to the Club a year ago following the departure of Dave Watson.


Since then he has acquired the help of former Latics midfielder Joe Parkinson who is now assisting the leadership of the team.


There have also been new additions on the pitch, with four players (Jordan Flores, Michael Wilson, Joey Johnson and Matty Hamilton) all stepping up from Under 16 level and five players (Jordan Unsworth, Ryan Jennings, Christian Mather, Ellis Gibbons and Danny Leigh) all recruited in the summer as well.

 


It was a tough start to the season as the squad gelled together but, much like the Under 21s the fluent passing style and attractive attacking movement has produced some outstanding performances.


Latics’ current run has seen them turn in back-to-back victories over Derby County and Leicester City with the defence providing solidity and the attacking with plenty of ammunition.


The form of Omar Thompson up front has provided the team with seven goals (six league and one cup) and such has been the development in the squad that both Michael Cottrill and Calvin Hare have featured in the Under 21s, with Joel Kerwin, Michael Wilson and Ryan Meadows also featuring in the age group above during pre-season friendlies.

 


Doolan’s side will be looking to extend their recent run and consistent performances when they face Sheffield Wednesday in their third home game in a row on November 17.


[Click here] to see a more comprehensive look at the fixtures and results from the season so far.

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