Defender has added incentive to welcome new Wigan Athletic chief

Curtis Tilt has more reason than most to welcome the arrival of Kolo Toure as Wigan Athletic's new manager.
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Toure won 120 caps for the Ivory Coast during a long and distinguished playing career that saw him represent Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool and Celtic at club level.

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He was a central figure in the Arsenal Premier League-winning side of 2003/04 under Arsene Wenger alongside the likes of Patrick Vieria, Thierry Henry, Sol Campbell and Dennis Bergkamp.

Curtis Tilt is hoping to learn more than most from new boss Kolo ToureCurtis Tilt is hoping to learn more than most from new boss Kolo Toure
Curtis Tilt is hoping to learn more than most from new boss Kolo Toure
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And playing in the same position as his new gaffer, Tilt is hoping to pick up one or two tips on the training ground from one of the best of his era.

"Obviously the gaffer was one of the best defenders of his era, one of the 'Invincibles' at Arsenal," Tilt said.

"You can only learn from someone like that, who's had the career he's had.

"And he's made a great first impression on everyone to be fair.

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"He's spoken to us all, and he comes across as a really down to earth person, despite what he's achieved in the game.

"We're all just focused on buying into what he wants from us and getting this club moving in the right direction."

Toure has already signalled his intention to adopt a similar philosophy from his Arsenal days, with the emphasis on playing the ball out from the back.

While Latics kicked the Toure era on a solid platform at Millwall, there were clear teething troubles during Monday night's defeat against Sheffield United.

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Tilt, though, says the players are all on board with how the manager wants to play.

"I think you could see in patches what we've been working on since the new gaffer's come in," he added.

"There are obviously some parts we need to get better at, but you can see what kind of style he wants to play.

"It's just a case of building on that now and buying into it as much as we can.

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"Being on the ball more and playing it into the midfield is fine by me.

"We just need to make sure everyone's on the same page, and the more we play that way, hopefully the more comfortable we will become."

Next up for Latics is the Boxing Day trip to Middlesbrough, with Sunderland visiting the DW for last game of 2022 on December 29, before Latics welcome in 2023 with a home match against Hull City on January 2.

It’s a hectic schedule, but Tilt wouldn’t have it any other way.

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"I've always enjoyed the festive period, I'd much rather be playing games than training,” he added.

"You want to be a footballer to be out there playing in front of the fans, not working on the training ground!

"It's a busy period, but it's an enjoyable busy, and you just get on with it.

"We'll still try and tick them off one by one, that's the only way you can do it.

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"Obviously with the games coming thick and fast, there's an opportunity to put some points on the board in a short space of time.

"And by the end of the festive period, the table can and hopefully will look a lot different."