Gary has the at­tributes to be top boss

The Football League Paper - - ADAM VIRGO -

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.

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

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

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