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Wigan Athletic’s Vaughan-again star!

James Vaughan
James Vaughan

It doesn’t seem five minutes since James Vaughan eclipsed Wayne Rooney and James Milner to become the youngest ever goalscorer in the Premier League.

Aged 16 years and 271 days, he wrote his name in the history books by finding the net for Everton against Crystal Palace in April 2005 – a record that stands to this day.

Fast-forward almost 13 years and, while hardly an old man, Vaughan admits he’s relishing being on the other side of the coin, and passing his experience on to the new breed in the Latics squad.

“It’s been a surprise how young the group’s been...not so much young, but at the start of their careers,” explained Vaughan, a January arrival from Sunderland.

“I’m probably one of the more senior players here, and I’m enjoying that extra responsibility.

“I’ve said all along that when you’re happy you’ll play your best football, and I’m definitely happy at the moment.

“I haven’t been quite so happy at some of my previous clubs, and I’m determined to make the most of it.”

Vaughan was certainly happy last season at Bury, when he banged in 24 goals to win him a place in the League One ‘Team of the Year’.

That earned him a move to the Championship, but half a season of misery at Sunderland saw him jump at the chance of joining Latics midway through this term.

And despite having to bide his time due to the form of Will Grigg, Vaughan says he’s delighted with how things have turned out.

“Since I’ve been here – and I don’t know what went on before I got here – Will’s been fantastic,” Vaughan enthused.

“Everyone wants to play but, when you’re being kept out of the side by someone playing that well, you can’t really complain.

“We’ve got a great relationship, and we really want each other to do well.

“When I’m on the pitch, I’m looking for him, and vice versa, and that’s a great basis for a partnership.

“The gaffer was very honest when I came in, he told me Griggy was in fantastic form.

“If I can keep on his coat-tails, and maybe even push him on to greater heights – whether I’m on or off the pitch – that’s what I’ll do.”

Vaughan showed his value at the weekend, when he came off the bench at Blackburn and helped to transform the game.

Losing 2-0 when the much-travelled striker entered the fray, Latics quickly pulled one back when Vaughan got his head to Nick Powell’s cross to allow Michael Jacobs to find the net via a deflection off Grigg.

And the comeback was complete when Max Power curled home a free-kick to earn a share of the spoils.

“The gaffer didn’t have to say a lot to me when I went on,” revealed Vaughan.

“He knows what I’m about, he knew I was desperate to get on and do well.

“To be fair, I thought we were playing all right, and certainly didn’t deserve to be 2-0 down.

“We started quite well, but got caught on the hop

a little bit with the two goals.

“The important thing then was to stay calm, which the gaffer managed to get across, and not go chasing it too much.

“The lads dug deep and we got what we deserved thankfully.

“I suppose the only disappointing thing then was that we didn’t go on and win the game.”