Former Tottenham, Liverpool and England defender 'will benefit Wigan Athletic on and off pitch'
Kolo Toure says Steven Caulker will make his presence felt both on and off the field at Wigan Athletic.
The 31-year-old - and current Sierra Leone international captain - has penned a short-term contract after becoming a free agent last month.
A former team-mate of Toure at Liverpool seven seasons ago, Caulker can’t wait to get reacquainted with his old pal after four years in Turkey with Alanyaspor, Fenerbahçe, Gaziantep and Fatih Karagümrük.
And Toure says Caulker will bring so much more than proven pedigree on the field to Latics' survival bid.
"Steven is a very experienced player, an established player, I obviously played with him at Liverpool," he said.
"He is a great guy, a leader, and I believe he can help us to get better.
"Right now, we need experience at the back, people who can lead, people who can talk to the guys around them, people who can organise.
"Steven falls into that bracket and he will offer a lot to us."
Toure also rejected the notion Caulker will need time to readjust to life back in England after several years overseas.
"He's been playing regularly in Turkey, and he's a top pro who looks after his body," the Latics boss said.
"He looks like a guy whose last game was two or three days ago.
"Of course, with training, he will only get better and better.
"But with experienced players, they know themselves what they need to do to prepare for games, and I believe he will know that better than anyone."
Caulker himself can't wait to get cracking back in the UK.
“After making the decision to come back from Turkey a couple of weeks ago, the gaffer reached out to me,” he said.
“He is an ex-team-mate of mine many years ago, and he spoke about the opportunity and the project he’s got going here.
“He spoke about the challenge that we face, and he wanted me to be a part of it.
"For me, he’s a great guy and one of the best guys I’ve met in football.
“The manager played a key part in myself coming here.
"I’m an experienced player and I’ve had 14-15 seasons under my belt, and for me, the most important thing is mutual respect with the manager.
“Kolo has shown that, and I want to repay that faith by performing on the pitch.
“I feel this challenge at this time in my career is the right step for me.
“I’m excited to be back home and to be in the Championship again.
"There are lots of things (I want) to prove and I’m looking forward to getting started.”
Caulker is desperate to get cracking as soon as possible, maybe even in time for Saturday’s tough trip down to Cardiff – who are also struggling at the bottom of the Championship.
“We face Cardiff on Saturday, who are an old team of mine,” he said.
“I know they are in a similar position to us, fighting for points.
"It is such a tight league table where there are just three points between us and safety, and we will be working hard every day in training to keep us in the Championship and aim even higher for the weeks and months to come.
“It’s just a pleasure to be here, and I’m excited to get started.”