Warren Joyce hailed the ‘fantastic attitude’ of Sam Morsy after the midfielder marked his return to the Wigan Athletic side with a man-of-the-match display against Nottingham Forest.
The long-term future of Morsy, who was recalled last week from a season-long loan from Barnsley, remains unclear, with the Tykes having triggered a clause that allows them to sign the player for a fee agreed last summer.
But until personal terms are agreed, Morsy remains a Wigan player, and Joyce’s decision to pitch him in against Forest was fully vindicated by a typically committed display in the engine room.
“That’s why I’ve played him to be honest,” Joyce told the Evening Post.
“It would have been easy to have left him out, and not put him through the situation, because you only really want players who want to play for Wigan Athletic at this moment in time.
“To play somebody in the wrong mindset is the wrong thing to do - as much for the other players as for Sam himself.
“I’m not involved in the financial aspects of the deal - all I can do is judge him as a man and as a footballer.
“I like the way he conducts himself, the way he trains, the way he plays - and I’ve told him that.
“For me, it’s a situation you’re in where you’re trying to build trust and a relationship with the players where they will do that little bit extra for their team-mates and the football club.
“I think he’s shown that, in a difficult situation for any player.
“His attitude was fantastic.”
The Latics fans did their best to persuade the player to stay by chanting his name throughout the 2-0 win over Forest, and Joyce admits he is keeping his fingers crossed.
“I’ve said before that I like him as a lad - he’s my type of player,” the Latics boss added.
“I do think it’s a difficult situation for him, a situation that arose before I came to the football club.
“All I can do is speak to him and try to persuade him that this is the best solution for him.
“Unfortunately, it’s out of my control.
“There was a clause in the contract which meant he could sign for them for ‘x’ amount of pounds, once we’d triggered the clause to bring him back, and we’ll just have to wait and see.
“We can’t really stop him if he wants to go.”