ROBERTO Martinez has pledged to keep faith with his talented teens throughout Wigan’s FA Cup campaign.
The Spaniard rang the changes for Saturday’s third-round tie at Hull, handing debuts to Jordan Robinson, Daniel Redmond and Jordan Mustoe as well as a first start for Callum McManaman up front.
McManaman responded with a man-of-the-match display including a stunning goal, while his three colleagues from the reserve team all did themselves proud on their big day.
And Martinez has promised they will get another chance to impress when Latics head to Bolton in round four at the end of the month.
“The youngsters will be involved in the FA Cup for the rest of the season, and the players know that,” he told the Evening Post.
“We said before the Hull game we needed to use it as an opportunity to ‘add’ to the squad rather than see it as a hindrance, and I was pleased with the players who came in.
“The youngsters really took their chance with both hands, and it was a day where a few players were added to our squad.
“I’ve said before that we’re going to give them the best possible opportunity, and the time has come for them to make the most of it.
“One look at our bench should act as great motivation for anybody at the club.
“Young talent will be given a chance at this football club, and the young boys all look like they’re ready to challenge for first-team shirts.”
McManaman, predictably, snared most of the headlines from the weekend, and his manager does not feel the praise was over-stated.
“Callum was a breath of fresh air around the pitch, and he deserved his goal and his performance,” Martinez gushed.
“You can see nothing fazes him and he is ready to challenge for a regular place.
“Callum has been working hard behind the scenes and his goal summed up his performance perfectly – full of confidence, full of belief and full of great potential and quality.”
Wigan fans also got their first look at new-boy Adrian Lopez following his recent drawn-out transfer from Deportivo La Coruna.
“It was great to see Adrian get over an hour because he hasn’t played competitive football for so long,” the Latics chief added.
“He settled in straight away, though, read the game well and established a nice partnership with Steven Caldwell.
“We had eight players out through injuries and suspension, which made it a very testing time for us.
“There are also players who we couldn‘t risk getting injured, so in that situation you need every player who comes in to stake his claim for a future here – and they did.”