GARY Caldwell labelled Will Grigg ‘the best striker in League One’ after the Wigan Athletic star’s brilliant brace helped to put Colchester out of their misery.
The Northern Ireland frontman was restored to the starting XI on his return from international duty, where he helped his country qualify for next summer’s European Championships.
And after Donervon Daniels (2) and Max Power had put Latics three up inside 15 minutes, Grigg added a goal in either half to hammer home Wigan’s superiority and seal a 5-0 triumph.
“I thought Will was brilliant,” acknowledged Caldwell.
“He’s come back from Northern Ireland duty with a real spring in his step.
“He’s had a stop-start season in terms of going away, coming back, going away, coming back.
“Now hopefully he can put together a good run in the team, and show what he’s all about.
“He was asked to play a different role, but he did it great.
“He got himself in the box at the right times and, as a finisher there’s nobody better in this league.”
In addition to his international call-ups, Grigg has also been affected by a freak elbow injury that has prevented him showing his best form at the DW.
But he has now bagged five goals for his new club - with the promise of many more to come when he fully finds his feet.
“He’s a top-class striker - that’s why we wanted to sign him,” Caldwell enthused.
“He showed that last year with his goals for MK Dons, that helped them get promoted to the Championship.
“And he’s shown in spells this season just how good he can be.
“His work-rate for the team was excellent, his touch in and around the box was quality, and his finish at the end is top class.”
Caldwell is hoping the brace can give Grigg the confidence to take his game to the next level.
“Will’s a confident lad, but at the same time he wanted to do his best, and he knew he could have done a little bit more in the early part of the season,” Caldwell recognised.
“There were reasons for that with his international call-ups and his elbow injury.
“But today he showed his value to the club, and I’m sure that will give him a real boost and he can kick on from here.”
Latics were never in any danger of not picking up a first win in five league matches, after a blistering start to the game that simply blew away the U’s.
“We were excellent from the very first minute,” assessed the Wigan manager, who believes his side didn’t even get near top gear.
“We had a real threat and a real attacking intent in our play.
“After scoring three goals inside the first 14 minutes, the game was never in doubt.
“I think we could have done even better from then on, but it’s great when you can win 5-0 at home and still have room for improvement.
“Once we go in front we can be even more efficient in our play.
“We don’t have to go looking for goals after that.
“We can use our possession and control the game, and pick and choose when we get at them.
“But I couldn’t be happier with the way we played.
“The energy levels from the top end of the pitch, right through the team, was great.
“And the commitment to do what we’re asking them to do, in terms of more forward runs and more forward passes, was superb.”
Caldwell also hailed the contribution of right wing-back Daniels, who showed a real eye for goal to give Latics the upper hand early on.
“We’ve been drilling into the lads that, when play is on the opposite side of the pitch, the wing-backs have to get into the box,” Caldwell added.
“They can either create space for the strikers or get on the end of something themselves, and he’s such a big lad that he can be a threat himself.
“They were two great goals and did exactly what we asked him to do.”