Quadruple boost for Wigan Athletic's Academy

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Wigan Athletic have made a quadruple swoop to bolster their Under-21 and Under-18 squads.

Defender Ethan Mitchell, midfielder Abdi Sharif and forward Joe Rodwell-Grant have all signed deals at the DW following successful trial periods.

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Mitchell, 19, returns to Latics after spells at Tranmere and Plymouth, having previously spent time with the Academy during his formative years.

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Joe Rodwell-Grant signs for Latics, watched by Frankie Bunn, Mal Brannigan and Gregor RiochJoe Rodwell-Grant signs for Latics, watched by Frankie Bunn, Mal Brannigan and Gregor Rioch
Joe Rodwell-Grant signs for Latics, watched by Frankie Bunn, Mal Brannigan and Gregor Rioch

He is a physically imposing defender who is extremely comfortable in possession, gaining experience on loan with Nantwich Town and Plymouth Parkway last season.

Sharif, 20, joins Wigan having spent over a decade with his boyhood club Liverpool.

The central midfielder, who emigrated to the UK from Somalia, began training with the Reds at the age of six.

Rodwell-Grant, 19, has spent the last seven years at Preston, for whom he signed professional terms in May 2021.

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A hard-working striker, he's enjoying loan spells with Chorley, Bamber Bridge and Lancaster City over the last two seasons.

“We are delighted to have all three players join our U21s group," said Academy Manager Gregor Rioch.

“In the time we’ve spent with Joe, Abdi and Ethan, we’ve been really impressed with their attitudes both on and off the field.

"We are really looking forward to working with them.”

Latics have also confirmed Matt Wonnacott has signed a professional contract at the DW.

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The 17-year-old goalkeeper has signed a two-year deal with Latics and links up with Kieran Driscoll’s Under-18s side on the back of an extremely successful spell with National League outfit Torquay United.

Wonnacott is regarded as an excellent shot-stopper with strong organisational skills, and was named on the bench for the Gulls’ first team in a National League fixture against Eastleigh.

“Matt is a very talented player and we are delighted he has chosen Wigan Athletic for the next stage of his football development,” added Rioch.

"He comes to the club on the back of a really successful season with Torquay.

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"Matt has a really positive attitude towards building on his potential, and we’re really looking forward to working with him over the next few years.”

Earlier this summer, Latics added attacking trio Luke Brennan, Youssef Chentouf and Josh Stones to their Under-23 pool.

Brennan, 20, had spent 14 years with Blackburn, Chentouf, 18, previously played for Bournemouth, and Stones, 18, joined from Guiseley and has captained England Schoolboys.

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