Burke aims to keep his place

Luke Burke
Luke Burke

Teenager Luke Burke hopes he has given Gary Caldwell ‘something to think about’ ahead of tonight’s League Cup first-round clash.

Latics face Oldham in a re-run of July’s pre-season friendly at Boundary Park, which Wigan won 1-0 with Burke in the starting line-up.

And the winner of the club’s Michael Millett award for the academy player-of-the-year last season hopes he will get the chance to run out again tonight after impressing Caldwell in his league debut at Bristol City last Saturday.

“I thought I played well in pre-season and the gaffer said if you play well you stay in so hopefully I’ve given him something else to think about,” Burke said.

“I just thought to get in – try and put in a performance – I was initially extremely nervous and once I started to settle down the excitement started to kick in, and I thought I want this all the time.”

And despite the 2-1 defeat at the weekend, Burke described the experience as ‘excellent’.

“It was a disappointing result, but to make my debut was excellent,” said Burke, who only found out on the day of the game he would start.

“I had feelings I could be in the starting XI but didn’t really know until I got the confirmation,” he explained.

“Dad was first to know and then the rest of the family knew after that.

“My uncle, aunty, dad, sister and a few of my mates came from Liverpool to watch and it was a very proud moment knowing my family and friends were in the stands, as well as the Wigan fans.”

Burke has been in the Latics ranks since he was 13, working his way through the academy to make his first team debut in the pre-season defeat to Liverpool, before scoring his first goal against Fleetwood two weeks later.

And now Burke wants a different battle after wrestling his way into Caldwell’s squad – he wants to keep his place.

But the rising star deflected the praise he received following his debut onto the staff at the club who helped him through the academy.

Burke said: “All those nights at St John Rigby College are now paying off.

“I can’t thank the academy and the staff enough over the years who’ve helped me get in the team.”