Wigan Athletic boss Paul Cook says Christian Walton will benefit from a spell out of the firing line – and remains course to fulfil his potential in the Premier League and with England.
The on-loan Brighton custodian was left out of a league game for the first time in his 18-month stay with Latics at the weekend.
Deputy Jamie Jones, who had impressed while deputising at West Brom in the FA Cup the previous weekend, kept a clean sheet – Wigan’s first since November 24 – in the comfortable 3-0 victory over Aston Villa.
And while Cook is expected to keep faith with Jones for Saturday’s trip to Sheffield Wednesday, the manager says Walton should not be too downhearted about the situation.
“Christian’s had a great 18 months here,” Cook told the Wigan Post.
“And he will be back in the side before long.
“That’s part and parcel of developing, learning, educating a player.
“Christian’s a great lad, with a great attitude, and he’ll become a great goalkeeper.
“But now and again everyone needs a bit of help, being left out, being able to refocus and go again.”
Walton has represented England at every level up to Under-21s, although he is now too old.
And he is expected to challenge for a first-team place at Brighton when he returns to the south coast at the end of the season.