Obertan can be our leader - Joyce

Warren Joyce believes Wigan Athletic will see the full benefits of Gabriel Obertan in the relegation run-in.

Saturday, 11th March 2017, 10:08 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:48 am
Gabriel Obertan

The ex-Manchester United winger was a surprise deadline-day arrival at the DW Stadium although, having been a free agent, he has taken time to get up to match sharpness.

Obertan made his first Latics start in the midweek win at Birmingham, showing some nice touches down the left-hand side, while fellow January new-boy Alex Bruce was also able to make the bench for the first time.

“Brucey and Gaby have got experience, but they’ve had to go through a mini pre-season to get where they are,” revealed Joyce.

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“That’s the plusses and the minuses of bringing in players during January.

“If you’ve got loads of dough, you’re looking to buy players who are already flying in this league, and match-hardened and ready to go.

“It’s much harder doing it the way we did it, but to bring in players of a certain calibre, there’s also going to be some baggage attached.

“They’ve not been playing, they’re not fit, and you’re trying to get them up to speed as quickly as you can.

“They’re not quite there yet, either Brucey or Gaby, but just to have them around – they’re good in the dressing room, they’re good pro’s, they’re good talkers, they’re leaders – is great.”

Joyce called Obertan an ‘X-factor signing’ after beating off a host of other clubs to land him following his release from Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala.

“To be fair to Gaby, because he’s got so much talent, we gambled even taking him to Wolves the other week,” explained Joyce.

“He was nowhere near ready to play or even be involved, because of the lack of work he’d done. But just to throw him on for the last 15-20 minutes, he contributed in the build-up to the goal.

“He was treading water in the 20 minutes he was on, and you know that, but you take it because he has talent and he gives you something different.

“If we’d have kept him away from the games, not had him travelling, not had him being sub, we could probably have had him nearer to full match fitness a bit quicker – but we would have missed chances for him to contribute.”