Non-league grounding made me stronger - Wigan Athletic starlet

Ollie CrankshawOllie Crankshaw
Ollie Crankshaw
Ollie Crankshaw says having to kickstart his career in non-league has given him a better perspective on the game as he aims to make it second time lucky with Wigan Athletic.

The 22-year-old forward was the hero at Fleetwood on Saturday, with his stoppage-time header rescuing a precious point.

It’s been a long and winding road to first-team football for Crankshaw, who came through the ranks at hometown club Preston, but was released in 2016 without featuring.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

There followed spells in non-league with Clitheroe, Colne and Curzon Ashton, from whom Latics took a chance on him in 2018.

And having already played 20 games this term, he says his pathway to first-team football has made him even more appreciative.

“It was hard for me, because I didn’t know much about non-league before playing there,” he said.

“But it helped me grow as a player and a person, it improved my perspective on the game so much.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“It’s so much more physical, it’s a lot more long ball, and it definitely taught me a lot about what I needed to do to stay in the game, and to work hard.

“There’s a lot of big lads, older lads in there...and me being 18, 19, 20...I was playing in places I’d never even heard of before!

“You have to grow up pretty quickly, but I’m a big believer in non-league and the grounding it gives you in terms of learning the game.”

Read unlimited Wigan Athletic and Wigan Warriors stories for less than 70p a week by subscribing to our sports package here