Caldwell aiming to put shackles on Rooney

The man in the mask Gary Caldwell

The man in the mask Gary Caldwell

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SKIPPER Gary Caldwell insists Latics will offer Wayne Rooney no special treatment when Manchester United visit the DW next weekend.

The England star scored one of the goals of season, arguably the decade, in last week’s win over Manchester City, with many predicting it will put an end to Rooney’s relatively poor run of form.

Next in the firing line are Latics, who are desperate for the points with only 11 games to save themselves from relegation to the Championship.

Rooney, 25, certainly enjoys playing against Wigan, having plundered nine goals in the 12 previous meetings between the sides.

But Caldwell says he and his colleagues can’t afford to get too focused on solely stopping Rooney. “We have to prepare as normally as possible ahead of the United game,” Caldwell told the Evening Post.

“The manager will show us what United are good at, and give us options on how to deal with those things and what we’re going to do as individuals and as a team.

“I think we’ve shown enough this season that anyone coming to the DW won’t fancy it, and hopefully we can produce a good display, get the fans behind us and get a big win.”

On the goal that everybody’s been talking about, Caldwell added: “It was an absolutely fantastic strike.

“The agility and the contact he managed to get on the ball was breathtaking. But they have talented players all over the park, and we’re going to need to deal with them all.

“Whether Rooney can score goals like that every week is another matter – but he’s clearly a real threat when he is on form like that.”

With 27 points from 27 games, many pundits have already started calculating how many wins Latics will need to preserve their Premier League status.

Caldwell, though, is not getting into the business of looking too far ahead.

“Everyone on the outside is telling us who’s going down and how many points are going to keep you up, but as a footballer you need to take it one game at a time,” he said.

“It’s an old cliche but that’s all you can do, because you never know how many points it’s going to be.

“We’ve got to concentrate on our own job and, come the end of May, we’ll hopefully have enough points to stay in this league.

“With the squad of players we’ve got, we all know we should be much further up the league than we are.”

The 28-year-old will again take to the field sporting his protective facial mask after breaking his cheekbone against West Brom earlier this month.

He revealed: “It something the doctor says I’ve got to wear because of the injury, but hopefully I can get rid of it as soon as possible!

“It does affect my peripheral vision slightly but, if it keeps me on the park, I’ll wear it.”