Latics guest player column - Stephen Warnock

Stephen Warnock

Stephen Warnock

It’s been an eventful week, and it’s great to be a Wigan Athletic player at the end of it.

The lads here have been great, they’ve already made me feel really welcome, and I’m just looking forward to the challenge ahead.

If selected I’m ready to play on Saturday – I’m raring to go!

I just want to play some football, and get back to doing what I enjoy the most.

I could have sat there at Derby until the end of the season, and not played any football.

I’d have been part of it, but you don’t really feel part of it when it’s like that.

I wanted to enjoy it again, and playing football is what I enjoy doing the most.

Obviously being from Ormskirk possibly had a bearing on the move here.

But you’re looking at much more than that – what they’re trying to do at the football club and where they’re trying to go.

It was also a chance to play regular first-team football and, after speaking to the manager, it was a no-brainer.

To be honest, I almost joined Wigan a few years ago when Roberto Martinez was the manager here.

It was my third year at Aston Villa, probably around 2011-2012, and it just didn’t happen.

I think he’d used up all of his loan deals, and he just couldn’t shift things round, it just wasn’t do-able at that time.

So it’s always been on the radar if you like, and keeping an eye on Wigan, with them being a local team to myself.

I also know a few players who’ve played here over the years, and they’ve only ever had good things to say about the club.

You look at the last few years – winning the FA Cup, playing in the Premier League, and you’d like to be part of the team that gets them back up there.

I just want to crack on with things now and I can’t wait to get started.

I spoke to Scott Carson at Derby before I signed here, and he was full of praise for the club from his time here.

Talking to team-mates and former team-mates is important with stuff like this, because you do like to get a feel for what a club’s like.

I also spoke to Jason Pearce, who I know very well from my time at Leeds, and asked whether I’d enjoy it, whether he’s enjoying it.

Managers do their homework on you, so why not do your homework on clubs?

At the end of the day, you want to play your best football, and you’re only going to do that in a happy environment.

Players are always happy when they’re in the team.

I suppose you get more of an honest opinion from players who are not in the team, or those who are no longer at the club.

That’s the way it goes...although I’d never tell you if I had received one of those negative reviews!

I’m here on loan initially, but we have already spoken about the possibility of making the move permanent if it suits all parties.

There is some kind of agreement set up, so we’ll just wait to see how it goes on that front.

Obviously if we were to get promoted back to the Championship, that would make it easier for all concerned.

That’s the aim, and eventually get back to the Premier League one day.

I’d love to play a part in that along the way.

But first things first, I’m concentrating in getting off to a good start at Colchester on Saturday.

There’s only 11 games to go, and every game will have a massive bearing on the league table.

I’ve just come away from that at Derby, so I know all about the expectations that clubs set on winning promotion, and the mentality you need to do that.

The lads here are very confident – but not over-confident – in what they’re doing.

They believe in what’s got them into this position in the top two, and it’s just a case of continuing that belief and keeping it going to the end of the season.

Hopefully I can help with that, because I have played in big games and I understand pressure situations.

Sometimes it’s only a case of putting an arm around someone and have a chat, and that can help.

The goal here is not just to get promoted – it’s to get promoted and do it well.

You enjoy winning things, and every player will look back at the end of their career and see what they’ve achieved and what they’ve won.

I’d really enjoy picking up another medal, and I’m going to be doing everything I can to make sure I can help us do just that.

I actually go back a long way with Gary Caldwell, my new manager at Wigan.

We played against each other at schoolboy level, England against Scotland.

I also remember him coming to Liverpool on trial when I was there.

He came down from Scotland, and we spent a couple of weeks together at Liverpool, although he ended up signing for Newcastle in the end.

Every time we’ve bumped into each other over the years we’ve stopped and had a chat.

Speaking to Jason Pearce, he speaks very highly of the manager, and all the lads here have said the same thing.

That’s not just what I’ve heard, I’ve seen it for myself, first-hand at training.

The lads respect him a lot, and that’s no mean feat because he is such a young manager.

Stephen Warnock was speaking to Paul Kendrick