Every Zog has his day

Charles N'Zogbia and Tom Cleverley
Charles N'Zogbia and Tom Cleverley

CHARLES N’Zogbia is in the form of his life – and Roberto Martinez reckons that spells bad news for today’s opponents Sunderland.

The Frenchman has been linked with a summer switch to Sunderland, whose boss Steve Bruce has made no secret of the fact he’d like to buy the player for the second time having lured him to Wigan in January 2009.

It’s not the first time this season that N’Zogbia will have faced a side interested in signing him, and Martinez believes being in the spotlight will bring the best out of his in-form winger.

“Charlie is very focused at the moment, because he knows just how vital the next five games will be to this football club,” Martinez told the Evening Post.

“Thankfully for us, he always, always tends to perform in a great manner in the big games.

“As we have seen this season, every time we’ve faced teams he has been linked with in the past, he’s always been at his most effective against those sides.”

Despite being Wigan’s runaway Player of the Year last term, Martinez feels he’s taken his game on to a new level this term.

“What’s great about Charlie is that he is still developing, and learning how to help the team the best he can out on the pitch,” Martinez added.

“He knows he can be influential in one-against-one situations, but the way he worked off the ball against Chelsea and Blackpool was, for me, the most pleasing aspect of his performance.

“He showed great responsibility and a great understanding of what you have to do as a player.

“We all know you can’t rely on any individual to win a game in the Premier League – that doesn’t happen anymore.

“But it’s been refreshing to see the commitment of each individual player in recent weeks, and that has been the difference between being a good group of players and a good team.”

Ben Watson is another Latic in top gear just now, but the ex-Crystal Palace man insists Wigan can’t afford to take out-of-touch Sunderland lightly this afternoon.

“Sunderland are due a win – hopefully it’s not this weekend,” he said.

“It’s always a great atmosphere up there, and they’ll be wanting to win the game just as much as we do.

“It’s a massive game – easily as important as last week – and we have to make sure we’re on our game.