Alex Gilbey admits the chance to test himself against some of the big boys in the Championship was a ‘massive factor’ in him joining Wigan Athletic.
Latics fought off a host of other clubs to land the 21-year-old midfielder from Colchester following the U’s relegation into the fourth tier.
And Gilbey – the Colchester’s player of the year last term – admits he can’t wait to test himself against teams that will feel they belong in the Premier League.
“You look at some of the teams in the Championship next year – Newcastle, Aston Villa, QPR – and you’d be crazy not to want to test yourself against them,” he said.
“That was a massive factor in me coming here. I’m looking forward to facing some big tests this season, and I can’t wait.”
Gilbey is also undaunted at the prospect of having to prove himself at Wigan, and going head-to-head for midfield places with the likes of Max Power and David Perkins – the top two in last year’s player of the year voting – as well as January arrival Sam Morsy.
“Competition for places is very healthy,” added Gilbey, who scored a blinding goal in Colchester’s 3-3 draw against Latics in Essex back in March.
“If you know you’re playing every week, you can drop your standards and not be as good as you can be.
“When you’re competing with the likes of Max and Perks, you know you have to be at your best or you’re not going to be playing.
“My first aim for the season is to get into the team on a regular basis, and also score some goals.”