Talking football: Caldwell’s bravery pays off

Adam Le Fondre justified Caldwell's call
Adam Le Fondre justified Caldwell's call

Gary Caldwell has always called on his players to be brave.

Brave in possession, brave in terms of sticking to his principles, regardless of the situation.

With Latics rock-bottom of the Championship, with only one win on the board, Caldwell proved he had the courage of his convictions on Tuesday night when he made arguably the bravest call of his short managerial career to date.

Despite having scored only 11 goals in 10 matches in all competitions, Caldwell left out Will Grigg.

The man who’d scored five of them.

The man who’d scored 21 times in the last 22 games of last term to fire Latics to the League One title.

The man who even members of as yet undiscovered tribes in as yet undiscovered parts of the world could tell you is ‘on fire’.

‘He must have a knock’, mused me and probably most Latics fans as they heard the team news around 7pm on Tuesday night.

Not so.

Caldwell reckoned the player ‘hadn’t looked his normal sharp self’ in recent weeks, and would benefit from a spell on the bench.

For a manager feeling the heat for perhaps the first time in the job, it would have been easy to have ignored that.

Easy to have picked a player that every single fan would agree would be in Wigan’s strongest line-up.

But Caldwell felt the time was right for Adam Le Fondre to show what he could do in a Latics shirt.

And he couldn’t have wished for his gamble to have paid off in better fashion.

If Le Fondre finding the net within six minutes wasn’t justification enough, watching Grigg come off the bench to net the last-gasp winner capped, in Caldwell’s words, a ‘dream scenario’.

The only problem now is deciding who starts at Brentford tomorrow...

Amidst the drama of transfer deadline day last month, Ryan Colclough’s loan exit to MK Dons barely raised a ripple.

However, his form since moving down south has 
certainly caused many Wiganers to sit up and start taking notice.

A hat-trick at the weekend against Fleetwood took his tally to four goals in four matches.

Sadly there is no recall option included in the loan deal, which runs until January.

But if he carries on banging in the goals, Colclough could become Wigan’s first major ‘signing’ of the next transfer window.

Wigan Athletic need to build on their win over Wolves and show the Championship what they’re made of – that’s according to boss Gary Caldwell.

But they could scarcely have picked a tougher fixture up next than Saturday’s trip to Brentford.

The Bees are up to fourth after thrashing Reading 4-1 in midweek.

Griffin Park will also hold unhappy memories for Caldwell and Latics, with their last trip there 16 months ago drawing a line under arguably the most catastrophic campaign in the club’s history.

Much, thankfully, has changed since that 3-0 defeat of course.

And Caldwell will be relishing the opportunity to take ‘his’ Latic side back to west London, where they will hopefully give a far better account of themselves.

67 days – that’s all it took for Sam Allardyce to win and then throw away his dream job as manager of England.

To put it into context, that’s two days less than the 33 Chilean miners trapped in 2010 were underground.

It’s sad when anyone loses their job, especially someone who’d clearly waited a long time for the opportunity.

But at the same time, after he was filmed apparently trying to broker a £400,000 deal, as well as discussing how to circumvent rules regarding player transfers and accusing the FA of being “all about making money”, his departure was inevitable.

I’ve seen apologists for Allardyce blaming the media for their role in his downfall.

“Entrapment has won,” claimed Big Sam himself.

But after undermining his employers in such a fashion, how could anyone claim Allardyce – who was ironically in the process of working on a new code of conduct for the England players – had not brought this on himself, and the game into disrepute?

As one Twitter user put it succinctly: “Entrapment has won...helped by assists from Greed, Stupidity, Booze and Naivety.”

Twelve years ago yesterday, Wayne Rooney marked his Manchester United debut with a sensational hat-trick in the Champions League against Fenerbahce.

Last weekend, he was reduced to fetching balls for the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the warm-up against Leicester.

He’s already been written off by many but, at the age of just 30, there’s plenty of time for Rooney to prove he’s still got it at the highest level.