After agreeing to extend his stay at with Latics, Gary Caldwell spoke of his pride in combining his playing and coaching duties and the added roles and responsibilities given to him by manager Uwe Rosler.
The Scottish international defender said:
“The gaffer spoke to me at the end of the season after the QPR game and said he wanted to keep me on as a player first and foremost, but also to help out with the Development Squad, Under 18s and the Academy side of the club.
“What he described really excited me, to stay on at the club as a player but also continue coaching is a great opportunity for me.
“I want to contribute as much as I can; it’s up to the gaffer how much I’ll play, but for him to give me that role and responsibility with the youth team and the next generation of the club is something I’m really looking forward to.”
With a lengthy lay-off following surgery last season, the 32-year-old achieved his coaching qualifications and began to offer his services to the Under 16s team.
Caldwell continued, explaining:
“The coaching side really interests me, I worked down at the Academy with Tim Lees and the Under 16s last season.
“The gaffer wants me to carry on helping that side of the club when I’m not involved in the first team, working with Joe Parkinson and Peter Atherton.”
Looking back on last season, Caldwell added:
“Last season was the hardest of my career without a doubt in terms of my surgery, the rehabilitation and then injuring my calf and Achilles near the end of my rehab.
“I played four games at the end of the season and who knows how many I’ll play this season.
“Whether it’s four again, 10, 15 or more, all I want to do is contribute to the club in some way, on or off the pitch and help achieve our goals for next season.”
“This is the longest time I’ve spent at any club during my career; I had a long time at Newcastle United as a kid, two spells at Hibs and three and a half years at Celtic.
“I’ve been here for four and a half years this summer, it’s been a long time and I’m proud to have been part of a great club, a real family club and one I feel a real part of.
“I’ve had a lot of highs and a lot of lows, but I feel like I’m part of the club and I really enjoy being here.”