Gary has the attributes to be top boss
GARY Caldwell was a quality player but he’s no miracle worker. I fully expect Wigan to be playing in League One next year. But my old Celtic team-mate is a very sensible appointment to replace Malky Mackay, whose controversial 138-day reign just never got off the ground.
I spent two years in Scotland with Gary and he’s got all the attributes you need to be a manager in the modern game.
Off the pitch, he’s very quiet and thoughtful. Every dressing room needs its egos – the loud ones who take the mick all the time, chop your trousers up and have to be the centre of attention.
But that wouldn’t work without people like Gary, too; quiet, professional, the ones who just go about their work.
That’s not to say he didn’t like a laugh or a joke on the bus, but when it was time to get down to business, he took it seriously.
He was, though, very vocal on the pitch. He’s somebody who has always known how to talk to players – which ones to kick up the backside, who needs encouragement. His man-management is excellent.
Mentally, he’s very, very strong, too. I remember up in Scotland he went through a really bad spell in his personal life but he still performed immaculately on the pitch.
At just 32, people will say he’s a risk. Fair play. But I think a young manager today has far more resources than a young manager 20 years ago.You can find courses online, pull training sessions off the internet, access stats and scouting networks.
I’m not saying it can replace real, hands-on experience but it means young managers are better prepared and schooled than ever before. Just look at the way guys like Lee Johnson and Eddie Howe have performed.
Nor will his age be a barrier to gaining respect. How many of those Wigan players have won titles or played in Old Firm derbies? How many have played for Scotland and scored important goals against France? How many have played in the Premier League or won the FA Cup? Gary’s done all of that, and been at the club for five years. When he talks, they’ll listen. Of course, it’s a big job. Since winning the FA Cup in 2013, this Wigan side have suffered a very sad decline.
People talk about their talented squad but I’ve watched them a few times this season and, to be honest, I can’t see much talent.
Emmerson Boyce should have played far better. So should Marc-Antoine Fortune and Martyn Waghorn. They can’t defend. They can’t create. They can’t score.
Goals will get you out of this division and goals will keep you in it. Wigan have managed 35, just three more than already-relegated Blackpool. Sorry, but that’s not good enough.
There’s a lot wrong but I think that’s why David Sharpe, the Latics’ 23-yearold chairman, has plumped for Gary.
An outsider would need time to learn about the players and the staff, who the bad eggs are, who shares his vision. Gary will already know everyone inside out so he can get to work on changing things now, in good time for next season.
And it makes sense for a young chairman with fresh ideas to work with a young manager just out of the game.
You can just imagine some old school manager rolling his eyes and telling the chairman he knows best. This way, it’s two young guys starting out on a journey together. I hope they get there.
READING have done brilliantly to get to the FA has been a Cup semi-finals after what season. hugely disappointing Championship that adventure lasting Unfortunately, I can’t see lost to Birmingham in beyond Saturday. Since Arsenal in there’s been a big change the 2011 League Cup final, approaches cup competitions. the way Arsene-Wenger of kids or fringe players No longer does he field teams and risk a humiliation. playing side and the way they’re I’d expect a full-strength could how any Championship side at the moment, I don’t see winless in four. stop them, let alone one be because the players have In fairness, that form could And Reading have got taken their focus off the league. is a very talented mid-good players. Oliver Norwood incredibly hard. fielder. Jamie Mackie works prove me wrong, But while I’d love them to the raw qual-I just don’t think they’ve got ity to do any damage.
SUIT FITS: Gary Caldwell, left, after his first game in charge on Friday IN CHARGE: Gary Caldwell captained Wigan on the pitch and is now bossing the Latics