Latics guest column - Callum Elder

Callum Elder

I was delighted to be back in the side at the weekend, and it couldn’t have gone much better.

It’s been a frustrating time for me since getting the red card at Milton Keynes on the opening day of the season.

It was the first red card of my career – it was just a shame it had to come on my Wigan debut, when I was trying to make a good impression.

Thankfully the manager wasn’t too bothered, in that he didn’t have a go at me.

He told me to wait my turn, be patient, and that my chance would come again.

The main thing was the team was doing well, but on a personal note I just had to keep working hard on the training ground.

It was great to get the chance against Walsall, and I was pleased with the performance of both myself and the team.

The team playing so well was important because the last two home games – against Plymouth and Northampton – were tough going and we really had to grind out the result.

Walsall came at us and had a couple of good early chances, but we stuck to our game-plan and a couple of moments of quality won it for us.

We’re obviously second in the table at the moment, with only Shrewsbury ahead of us.

Full credit to them for what they’ve achieved so far, and they deserve to be right up there.

But we know if we stick to our guns and our goals, and work hard for each other, no team will get in the way.

It is really all about us, and that’s the message in the dressing room.

On a personal note I’m really enjoying my time here at Wigan.

It was obviously tough when I’ve not been playing but, if I’m honest, I was still enjoying the training during the week.

It’s a great dressing room to be part of, the lads are really good, the staff are great, and there’s a really nice mix of old and young. Obviously it does help when you’re winning games, there’s no point lying about that.

And I’m sure there will be some tough periods on the way throughout the season.

But it’s important we stick together and work for each other, because we’re all trying to achieve the same thing at the end of the day.

We’re all fighting for positions every week – and that goes for all over the park.

The gaffer’s assembled a really competitive squad, and the group knows that if we are to achieve our goals then everybody is going to play a part.

Although he plays in my position, I was delighted to see Reece (James) come in and do so well, after such a long spell out with injury.

It’s great to see him back wearing the shirt on a matchday.

But of course in the back of your mind you want to be in there, making a go of it, making a contribution to the results.

The accent is a bit of a give-away, but I am a Sydney boy, all the way from Australia.

I used to be a big rugby league fan back home – although I drifted off a bit when I first moved over here at 16 – so obviously it’s great to be based here in Wigan, a town with real rugby league history.

Manly, the Sea Eagles, were my team back home, I lived less than 10 miles away from Brookvale Oval, the famous old ground. I used to go to the games, and I really enjoyed it.

The Stewart boys (Glenn and Brett) were the big stars back then, they both were big players for club and country, they were the stand-outs.

Although I loved watching it, I never played at school – I always stuck to football.

I knew my limits and what my body could take!

Being an Aussie I’m also into my cricket, and I’ve had Peter Reid in my ear since I’ve been here, giving me a bit every day, leading up to the Ashes.

I’m praying Australia can bring them home, and it’s looking good for us at the moment.

It’s probably a flip of the coin, over the five Tests, and it’ll be great to keep an eye on that over the winter.

There were some decent cricketers who went to school with me back home, as well as a few who’ve gone on to play for the Wallabies.

It’s just such a great sporting culture over there, and that’s why we’re such a proud nation on the international arena. But I’ve been over here since I was 16, and I have to say I’m really enjoying my time in England!

It was such a big decision for me to come over to Leicester, on my own, but I’ve never looked back.

I’ve never regretted coming over here – not for one day.

When it’s something you’ve wanted to do your whole life, it does soften the extremity of the decision.

It’s coming up to six years since I’ve been here, and mum and dad still make regular visits to see how I’m doing.

That’s obviously great, because family is a massive thing in my life.

Whether they’re over here or back home in Australia, they’re nothing but supportive – and that helps keep me going.

It’s nice when they come, because they bring over a stock of ‘Tim Tams’ – chocolate biscuits – which are absolute winners!

You’ve got Penguin bars over here, but they don’t hold a candle to ‘Tim Tams’.

Callum Elder was speaking to Paul Kendrick

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