UWE Rosler heaped praise on James McClean after the Irishman came off the bench to ram home an emphatic message in Wigan’s 2-1 win at Derby.
McClean has endured a frustrating start to the campaign after damaging an ankle in pre-season.
But he proved his match-winning quality at the iPro to help Latics to a come-from-behind victory - their first in nine matches.
Having preferred Callum McManaman in the starting XI, Rosler sent on McClean with half an hour remaining and Latics 1-0 down.
And the Wigan boss paid tribute to his super-sub for making his point in the perfect fashion.
“James didn’t sulk when he was left out, which he could easily have done,” acknowledged Rosler.
“He understood the reason, he kept focus, he watched the game and he came on and finished the job off.
“That is all about being a team player and working in a team environment, and he got his rewards and we got our rewards.
“Being away with Ireland has given James a massive lift, and he is now ready to step up.”
Rosler admits he thought long and hard about whether to start with McClean or McManaman, who also did a good job for the team playing off lone striker Marc-Antoine Fortune.
“It was a massive decision for me to make,” Rosler recognised.
“For our game-plan to work, we needed the most energetic players on the field to pressurise them the way we did last year.
“Obviously Callum is not known for being a 90-minute player, he is known for his incredible ability with the ball.
“I had a feeling we needed him to play and he did very well for me in training on Friday that persuaded me to start with him over James.
“Over the last two and a half weeks, James has played five games, which was also a factor. Both players did fantastic for me.”
Rosler was also to laugh off a first-half incident that saw him completely taken out in the technical area by Derby midfielder Johnny Russell, who was trying to keep the ball in play. “It will be shown tomorrow and for the next 20 years. It will follow me to the grave,” the German laughed.
“The player was terrific, he looked after me, maybe it was in case I want to sign him!”