500-up Steve sets the standard - Joyce

Warren Joyce has held up Stephen Warnock as a '˜great example' of the attitude and drive that is hopefully going to propel Wigan Athletic out of the Championship drop zone.

The ex-England international, who turned 35 in December, has played every minute of every game for Latics this season, and last week joined a select number of players to reach the 500-game mark.

Despite languishing in 23rd spot, Latics have the second-best defensive record in the bottom half, with only 40 goals conceded from their 34 matches played – five fewer than promotion-chasing Reading.

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And Joyce cannot speak highly enough of the role Warnock has played in that, and the importance he’ll have in the run-in – starting this weekend in the huge six-pointer at Blackburn.

“Steve’s played every minute of every game...for the age of him, there’s not a nick on him,” Joyce enthused.

“He lives the right lifestyle, he has the right diet, I can’t imagine he’s a drinker, and he trains his socks off every day.

“He’s a great example, not only as a player but as a man, of what is required to be a good pro. He sets the standard high, and that helps to drive the other lads on.

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“When I was at Manchester United, and you’re trying to create people as well as players, you would be proud if they turned out like Steve.”

Joyce has also been pleased with the integration into the defence of Jamie Hanson, who played right-back against Nottingham Forest on Saturday.

“We know he can play in several positions, and that’s key for us,” added Joyce.