‘Max Power is Wigan Athletic’s Jonny Wilkinson’!

Max Power
Max Power
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Jonny Wilkinson will go down in history as the man who drop-kicked England to Rugby Union World Cup glory back in 2003.

He also could prove to be an unlikely, indirect, secret weapon in Wigan Athletic’s quest for promotion, according to Paul Cook – who says Max Power’s set-piece delivery is straight from the Wilkinson playbook!

“Max Power’s delivery is excellent – it’s a bit like Jonny Wilkinson at times,” enthused the Latics boss.

“It’s that type of quality where you’ve just got ‘it’.

“Max can affect a game wherever he plays, and it’s a great quality to have in the squad.”

Power’s latest free-kick success came at Blackburn last weekend, when his pinpoint delivery from the left-hand side decieved everyone in the area – including Rovers goalkeeper David Raya – and made its way in at the far post.

And Cook says the formula for success is perspiration rather than inspiration.

“I think it’s more about repetition that anything else,” revealed Cook.

“Max works as hard at his game as anyone you’ll see.

“He’s as committed a lad and as devoted to his game than possibly anyone I’ve come across in my career.

“He lives his life totally to be as good a footballer as he can be, and he’s reaping the rewards for that.”

Cook, of course, was a former free-kick specialist during his own playing days.

“Hey, mine were better than Max Power’s!” he roared. “I would never have let Max near them if I was in the side!”

The gaffer also admits there is an embarrassment of riches at the club to keep Power on his toes.

“We have plenty of lads who can take a good set-piece – Jamie Walker, Nick Powell, Gary Roberts – and it’s an important aspect of the game,” Cook added.

“There’s always two components to a good set-piece.

“First, the delivery. And two, people going in believing they can score.

“Certainly in that Blackburn one, we had the delivery thanks to Max.

“As a manager, when the ball goes in to the box like that, you’ll either go ‘yes’ or ‘no’. When Max puts the ball in, 90 per cent of the time the thought is ‘yes’.

“With deliveries like Sunday, there will always be problems for the goalkeeper – the pace is too much, there’s too many players running in, any nick and it’s in anyway.

“I certainly wouldn’t be one who says that’s a mistake by the goalkeeper.

“When the delivery is that good, there’s not a lot a goalkeeper can do.”