New-boy can be 'Perfect Ten' for Wigan Athletic!
The Zimbabwe international joined Latics from Nottingham Forest last week for the rest of the campaign, and made his debut in the 3-3 draw at Rochdale.
It was Darikwa’s first club outing in 22 months due to a serious knee injury.
But he came up with a man-of-the-match display, which showed why Latics had twice tried to sign him in the past, under Gary Caldwell and Paul Cook.
And Gardner – who worked with Darikwa under Cook at Chesterfield – believes Latics may have unearthed a real diamond in the January window.
“He’s a great player, very fit lad, great on the ball, and he’s played for a Premier League club so we’ll only be better off for having him,” said Gardner.
“I’m looking forward to playing with him and I’m sure he’ll make a big difference.
“He’s not played in the first team for a while, but I wouldn’t say it’ll take him that long to get back into the swing.
"Like I say, he’s always been a very fit lad, and he looks in good shape already since he’s been here.
“Tendayi had exactly the same injury I did...and it’s not so much fitness but just settling back into that match sharpness, and that will come sooner rather than later with him.”
Darikwa certainly didn’t show any ring-rust from being out for so long, or any mental fatigue after his injury.
“From my own experience, when I got back I was constantly thinking it was going to go again, and that was the case for ages,” acknowledged Gardner.
“Even in games, it was there at the back of my mind. But you get through that, and I’m now at the stage where I don’t think about it at all, in training or in matches.
“It’s a process you have to go through, and getting over the mental barriers there. At the end of the day. If it goes again, it goes again, and there’s nothing you can do to stop that.”
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