Rosler hails ‘Mr Versatile’ Tavernier

Wigan Player James Tavernier
Wigan Player James Tavernier

UWE Rosler reckons he snapped up more than one player when he brought James Tavernier to Wigan Athletic.

Tavernier arrived at the DW Stadium earlier this summer from Newcastle, having impressed during a loan spell with Rotherham last term.

The 22-year-old has played most of his football to date in his preferred right-back spot, including Wigan’s first couple of pre-season friendlies.

But with Latics suffering an injury crisis in midfield, Tavernier was thrust into the engine room against Besiktas on Tuesday night alongside Fraser Fyvie and Tim Chow, and was again very impressive.

Latics chief Rosler remains desperate to bring in new blood to cover for the lack of bodies, and is hoping to have a couple on board in time for next week’s second training camp in Germany.

But the gaffer admits Tavernier’s display in the week – and his exploits in training so far – has given him food for thought moving forwards.

“James was playing out of position in midfield, and his performance was a big boost for us,” said Rosler.

“He is such a versatile player, young and energetic, and with his delivery he can pick out people and create chances for the team.

“He showed what a good footballer he is, and what a good footballer we have signed.”

Latics were without Shaun Maloney, Don Cowie, Chris McCann, Ben Watson and Roger Espinoza against Besiktas.

And Rosler could have done without losing James McClean to a training-ground mishap as well as Marc-Antoine Fortune just six minutes into the game with a hamstring pull.

Despite the situation, the German is adamant he will not be rushing back any of his walking wounded before they are ready.

“Ben is right on schedule and Chris is a little bit ahead, but it was never the plan for them to be fit for the start of the season,” Rosler revealed.

“When you have been out for that length of time, it’s not a case of as soon as they return to training they are fit to play.

“It will take months, not weeks, to get them back to the level they were playing before they got injured.

“The golden rule is that you usually need exactly the same time you’ve been out of action to get back to your best, and it’s important not to cut corners now.

“Yes, the performance against Besiktas was a welcome surprise, and will give us positivity and encouragement for the last three-and-a-half weeks before the season.

“The downside was losing more players, and the situation is getting critical now.”

New signing Cowie could well make his debut in Wigan’s next pre-season friendly at Rochdale on Saturday.

Espinoza will rejoin the squad in time to fly to Germany next week, but will be weeks behind the other players in terms of fitness.