It took the attacking midfielder half a season or so to settle after his move to Latics from Celtic in the summer of 2011 but when he was introduced as a second half substitute against Norwich City in March 2012, his season kick-started as he played in Victor Moses with pin-point accuracy to earn Latics a late point at Carrow
Before that game, Maloney had only appeared occasionally in the Barclays Premier League and was involved in both of Latics cup games, including making his debut against Crystal Palace in the Carling Cup and travelling to Swindon Town as Latics were knocked out of the FA Cup.
Maloney’s patient build-up play suits Roberto Martinez’s style perfectly and his ability to link play between defence and attack has added pace and precision in the final third. All of these talents together create a player who can both score goals and carve out excellent chances for his team-mates.
His hard work and desire to be fully fit paid off for the final stint of the 2011/12 season as he ended his first term at Latics with a bang scoring three goals.
The first of which couldn’t have come on a bigger stage as he gave Latics a 1-0 lead at Anfield from the penalty spot.
If scoring at such a venue wasn’t enough, he helped Latics make history in April 2012 when he curled in a shot from outside the box to break Latics hoodoo against Manchester United with a 1-0 victory.
That goal saw him claim his first individual prize at Latics as it was voted 2011/2012 Goal of the Season at the end of season awards dinner.The Scottish international then rounded of his goal tally with a superbly taken low finish from a tight angle, scoring the third of four goals against Newcastle United.
Maloney came to Latics with both Scottish Premier League and Barclays Premier League experience having had two spells at Celtic and a short stint at Aston Villa. His dual spells at Celtic saw him claim five SPL titles, five Scottish Cups, three Scottish League Cups and was runner up in the UEFA Cup Final in 2003.
The midfielder was also acclaimed for his personal performances and in 2006 he became the first player ever to win both the SPFA Players’ Player of the Year and SPFA Young Player of the Year.
Despite being born in Malaysia, Maloney chose to follow his roots and play for Scotland.
He is capped 20 times at under 21 level and made his senior debut in October 2005 against Belarus, with his first goal coming in a 2-0 win against Faroe Islands in a Euro 2008 qualifying game.