Joe Gelhardt and Jensen Weir 'in Wigan Athletic's plans this season'

Joe Gelhardt
Joe Gelhardt

Paul Cook has confirmed Young England stars Joe Gelhardt and Jensen Weir will have roles to play in the first-team set-up for Wigan Athletic this season.

Forward Gelhardt and midfielder Weir made their league debuts at Birmingham in the penultimate game of last season, and represented their country over the summer at the Under-17s Euros in Ireland.

Both had been tipped for loan moves to gain first-team experience further down the EFL to aid their development.

But after impressing during the summer friendlies – and with Latics failing to bring in as many new players as initially hoped – the Latics boss says they’ve played their ways into his plans.

“The Championship’s a really tough league but, as it stands, it probably looks as though Jensen and Joffy (Gelhardt) will be staying with the squad,” Cook told the Wigan Post.

“They’re doing well, they deserve it, and I think it’s important to recognise their development.

“If they were to stay with us until January, that’s one option we could have.

“And if they weren’t having enough football, it could be something we could look to change.

“But at the moment, I think the plan is for them to stay with us – because they’ve done great so far.”

Weir impressed off the bench in midweek against Everton, watched from the directors box by dad, David, the former Toffees and Scotland star.

Cook was disappointed he wasn’t able to get similar minutes into Gelhardt, who only appeared off the bench late on.

“I wanted to get Joffy on up front,” explained Cook. “But the way the game was panning out, and the shape of both teams, you have to adjust to these things.

“He came on wide right, and he’s not a wide right. But it was nice for him to get on the pitch against Everton, and it will do him good.”