UWE Rosler has called for Callum McManaman to given special protection by referees to save him from serious injury.
The 23-year-old was again in dazzling form at the weekend as Latics recorded their first win of the campaign, 1-0 over Blackpool.
McManaman was in unplayable mode as he dovetailed superbly with Oriol Riera, who scored the only goal just after the half-hour mark.
Virtually every time McManaman got the ball he was going past tangerine shirts, who had to resort to foul means to stop him in his tracks.
On one occasion, McManaman was the victim of a horrendous lunge by Pool defender Peter Clarke that referee Carl Boyeson deemed worthy of only a yellow card, when other referees might have brandished red.
And Rosler is anxious that such tactics do not become commonplace if McManaman continues his early-season form.
“Callum is a special player, and that continues to be the case in every game he is playing at the moment,” remarked Rosler.
“Was it three or four players who were booked by hacking him down?
“When he gets the ball and runs at people, it seems they don’t even try and get the ball off him – they try and take him out of the game.
“If that continues, I am worried that one day we will lose this special player.
“For me, some of the fouls were borderline straight red cards.
“If he hadn’t jumped out of the way on a couple of occasions, he would not have finished the game – and it cannot continue like this.
“I thought the referee did well today, but in general there has to be a responsibility from referees to give this kid some protection.”
McManaman has been Wigan’s stand-out outfield player so far this term, showing his versatility by shining on both the right-hand side and also up top alongside Riera.
And the Wigan boss believes he is on the way to becoming the complete forward player by effortlessly switching between the two with equal success.
“With Callum, we have two systems where in the 4-3-3 he plays high up down the right or the 3-5-2 where he is up front,” Rosler revealed.
“With the latter system he is in the process of learning a new role, and it will not happen overnight.
“He is not an in-and-out wide player in that system, he has to be a forward player who plays in a different way and moves in different areas.
“It is a different role both offensively and defensively, but he can only become a better overall by player by becoming used to that position.
“You saw again how he can be such a threat in all areas of the pitch.
“You want your best players on the ball as often as possible, and that is what we are trying to achieve,.
“Callum is a special player, and we are trying to get him on the ball as much as possible.”