Gary Caldwell says he couldn’t be happier with the way Emyr Huws has responded to life back at Wigan Athletic.
And the Wales international’s attitude since returning from a season-long loan at Huddersfield has told Caldwell ‘everything I need to know’ about whether he is fully committed to the club.
Huws fell out of favour at the DW last summer, after making it clear he didn’t want to play in League One following Latics’ relegation from the Championship.
He was loaned out to Huddersfield, for whom he made 34 appearances in the Championship last term, in a swap deal that saw Jordy Hiwula arrive on a similar arrangement.
Caldwell made a point of leaving the door ajar for Huws to return to the DW at the end of his loan, while also admitting the 22-year-old would have to prove to his team-mates he was worthy of welcoming back.
But the Latics boss has confirmed the player has done everything expected of him so far, even turning down the chance of an extra few days’ holiday after being named in the initial Wales squad for the Euros to try to impress.
When asked if Huws was part of his future plans, Caldwell replied: “Yes, without a doubt. He was someone who trained extra because of the Wales camps, and he’s not asked for any extra time off.
“He wanted to be in, he wanted to be back with the group on day one, and that tells me everything I need to know.
“We’ve always known the quality that Emyr has, and for him to want to be here is great.
“You want good players at your club, he’s a good player, and we’re delighted to have him back.”
As he attempts to add quality to his squad ahead of the Championship campaign, Caldwell is well aware the reintegration of Huws could yet prove to be the best bit of business he does all summer.
Also back with the squad for pre-season are defender Andrew Taylor and striker Billy Mckay, who spent last term out on loan at Reading and Dundee United respectively, and who will also be given the chance to stake a claim.
“I said last season that nobody would be discounted, and it’s the same again this season,” Caldwell recognised.
“Reputations in football mean nothing, and you have to prove your worth every day to the club.
“They have to show me every day that they want to be here, and show me the quality that I know they have. If they can all do that, I’m sure we’ll have a successful season.”