LOOK up the word ‘unflappable’ in the dictionary, and you’d probably find a picture of Jordi Gomez.
Calmness personified – and not a hair out of place.
Part of the reason for his laid-back demeanour could his Catalan roots.
It might also be something to do with the ancient art of yoga – which is helping to keep Gomez on the level ahead of today’s Wembley showdown with Arsenal.
“Peace of mind is everything. I have it, but I want more,” Gomez said.
“Peace of mind is key for life. It’s all important.
“I do yoga to help me with that, I started a few years ago.
“It helps with the mind and it helps physically as well. Everyone should try it.
“People laugh about it, but they don’t know anything about it.”
He added: “It makes you stronger, mentally and physically – look at (Ryan) Giggs, he’s still playing.
“It looks like yoga is all about relaxing, but it’s hard. It takes discipline.
“If you are disciplined in yoga, you will be disciplined in football, your life, everything.
“I do it every day, both at the club and at home.
“When I go back to Spain I had an instructor, and I also have one in Manchester.
“But I know more or less how to do it so I can do it on my own at home.
“I don’t do meditation, but I would like to try it – I think it might help. Maybe I’ll try it in the summer after we’ve won the FA Cup!”
Speaking to Gomez, you would scarcely believe he is about to play in one of the biggest games in his life.
Cool, calm, collected – just as he was when he stepped up to score the crucial penalty that set Latics on their way to the 2-1 victory at Manchester City in the quarter-finals.
“I don’t really feel pressure from penalties,” explained Gomez, who has missed his last two league spot-kicks but who would be more than happy to step up to the plate if required on Saturday.
“I’ve missed the last two, but you have to always think that you’re going to score the next one.
“If I am on the pitch I want to take the penalties, and I will offer to do so again.
“Nobody has said anything to me since the last miss so I am happy to keep going. It’s no problem.”
Wigan has been awash this week with Wembley fever, but it should come as no surprise that Gomez is not losing any sleep over today’s game.
“Yes it’s a semi-final, but I don’t think you need to get so excited about it,” the former Barcelona junior said.
“That’s more for the fans, not the players.
“Of course we are going there to enjoy the day, but there is no need to be panicking.
“They are the big team, although we have won more trophies in the last few years than they have.
“They are the ones who need to win. Of course we want to win but there is far less pressure on us.”
It’s not always been easy for Gomez, who has suffered at the hands of a small minority of Latics fans during his five seasons at the DW.
This year, however, it’s been exclusively cheers rather than jeers, with the 28-year-old enjoying his best-ever campaign in a Wigan shirt.
“It’s been hard for some fans to understand,” Gomez acknowledged.
“But I’m not going to change my way of playing.
“My aim is to be a better player every day and every game, and I certainly think I am a better player than I was last year, and the year before, and the year before that.
“That is the most important thing for me. It’s not about what people think.
“Football is a game of opinions. Some people like me and some people don’t like me.
“That’s not just me, that’s everyone in world football.
“I think the fans have started to appreciate my style of play a little bit more, and I am happy about that.
“But my aim is not to make people like me. My aim is to be the best player I can be.”