Shaun Maloney on why he made sure there’s a lasting memory of Gary Caldwell at Wigan Athletic

Shaun Maloney has revealed where the management journey started for both him and Gary Caldwell - in the car on the commute to and from Wigan Athletic training sessions.
Shaun Maloney and Gary Caldwell spent most of their playing careers alongside each otherShaun Maloney and Gary Caldwell spent most of their playing careers alongside each other
Shaun Maloney and Gary Caldwell spent most of their playing careers alongside each other

The duo will lock horns this weekend when Maloney and Latics make the long trek down to face Caldwell's Exeter City.

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Former skipper and manager ready for reunion with Wigan Athletic and old pal.

Having worked together for most of their careers - with Scotland Under-21s, Celtic, Scotland and then Latics, before forming a short-lived managerial alliance at Hibernian - it will be a unique experience.

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And one that was forged a decade ago on the roads surrounding Wigan.

"We spoke a lot about football at that time," said Maloney. "Myself, Gary and Ben Watson used to travel in and out together, and we were all getting to that stage in our careers.

"We'd been exposed to something different (under Roberto Martinez), and we used to speak a lot about our own team, what we were good at, what we weren't.

"And then on the pitch, all three of us were probably quite demanding of each other.

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"If one of us thought one of the others wasn't doing what they should be, they were told quite abruptly.

"It was just a really good relationship we had, and something that's stood us all in good stead."

Maloney has nothing but positive words for a player and a person he followed from Celtic to Wigan in 2011.

"I know Gaz really well, and I have some amazing memories with him both here and in Scotland," he said.

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"I first knew him when we started to play together for Scotland Under-21s, he was a little bit older.

"We arrived at Celtic pretty much together, then again at Wigan, but always had the national teams in the background.

"He's a brilliant person, a good mate, we've been through a lot on the pitch as well as off it.

"He did a brilliant job for me as my assistant at Hibs, he was a really diligent coach, and really helpful for me in my first job.

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"I loved working with him, he puts a lot of work into his sessions, and I was very appreciative of what he did for me.

"I'm very fond of him and his family, and there's a reason why we put his picture up outside the boardroom.

"After of his playing career, he had a brilliant year here, winning the league.

"He should be proud of what he's achieved at this club, and I always want to celebrate that."

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Despite sharing the same footballing philosophy and principles, Maloney does not feel it will lead to a chess match this weekend.

"I think it will be a similar sort of process to most games," he added.

"When I see Gary's Exeter, I see a lot of things we have discussed previously, the 'wing-back/10 rotation', almost playing with no No.9.

"They've got some really good players - Demetri Mitchell was a lad we had at Hibernian - and we know how good they are.

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"The problems we'll face will be problems we face every week - you just have to find that solution tactically.

"We'll have a look at where they might have weakness and look to take advantage of that.

"He's got a good team down there, we've had them analysed, they usually go with a back three.

"They can go with a four, but most of our best performances have come against back threes.

"One of the best was at Bolton, when we were aggressive, and we high pressed.

"That's a decision I have to make, and hopefully it will be the right one for us.”

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