The future's bright...the kids are all right!
Here are five things we learned from Wigan Athletic's pre-season draw against Liverpool...
1 Liverpool brought a pretty-near full-strength squad to the DW Stadium but, for long periods, Latics more than matched their more illustrious opponents. The likes of Alex Gilbey and Max Power showed up well in midfield, while the defence – apart from the lapse for the Liverpool goal – looked solid in front of new goalkeeper Christian Walton.
2 As expected, Paul Cook elected to use all 11 substitutions, ending the game with a virtual Development Squad. But rather than letting things slip in terms of intensity and quality, the young lads did themselves proud as they held on for the draw their committed efforts undoubtedly deserved. It will do them the world of good in the years to come.
3 The performance and result was made even more impressive given the big hitters not on duty. With Will Grigg, Sam Morsy, Nick Powell, Jack Byrne, Andy Kellett, Donervon Daniels and Shaun MacDonald to be added to the group, Latics look to be in great shape with less than three weeks to go before the start of the season.
4 The new Latics home kit is a thing of beauty. You’d be struggling to find any negative feedback from the fans...which is incredibly rare in this day and age of social media and message boards. The only slight drawback is the skin-tight ‘cycling top’ style, which may not flatter the more ‘bigger-boned’ supporter. But on the field, it looks a real winner.
5 Half-and-half-scarves for friendlies - what is that all about? Cards on the table time, I own three half-and-half scarves - to commemorate Latics’ historic and never-to-be-repeated clashes against Zulte Waregem, Rubin Kazan and Maribor. Why anyone would wish to look back in years and remember this one is anyone’s guess.