The real Joe Gelhardt - Wigan Athletic Development Squad manager Nick Chadwick

Wigan Athletic Development Squad manager Nick Chadwick gives an insight into Joe Gelhardt - the player and the person - to mark the Young England striker's 18th birthday.

Monday, 4th May 2020, 4:03 pm
Updated Monday, 4th May 2020, 6:10 pm
Nick Chadwick and Joe Gelhardt

“The thing with Joffy is the challenge to try not to over-coach him.

“When you’re coaching him to do stuff, you’re also stifling that natural instinct he has which sets him apart from the rest.

“You’re losing something rather than gaining something, so it’s more about encouraging him to play the way he wants to.

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“It’s great that he’s not been affected about making the step up to the first-team set-up.

“Watching him in pre-season last year, he just had that aura about him that other young players just don’t have.

“He’s also got that drive, that ambition, which you need to make the most of a talent like he has.

“I’m just looking forward to what he does now, and watching him continue to progress in the first team.

“We don’t need to keep him grounded, because he’s grounded anyway.

“It’s more about keep pushing him to be as good as he can be, so that he’s not a flash in the pan.

“He’s got a unique shape, and Wayne (Rooney) was the same at Everton when I was there. And his feet are lightning fast, like Wayne’s were.

“Obviously it’s totally unfair to compare a 17/18-year-old lad to England’s greatest ever goalscorer just yet.

“But you can see where the comparisons come from, especially the background.

“If he goes on to have even half the career Wayne had, we’ll all be delighted.

“But we just want him to fulfil his potential in his own way.”