The 'old man' of Wigan Athletic - at 23!
Callum Lang is enjoying the added responsibility of being the old head of Wigan Athletic – having just turned 23.
The in-form forward is the longest-serving player on the books, having come through the academy and made his senior bow in May 2017.
Loan spells at Morecambe, Oldham, Shrewsbury and Motherwell meant he didn’t really become part of the furniture until last term.
But the way he inspired Latics’ Great Escape – and has hit the ground running this term – has made him a central figure in the rebuild under Phoenix 2021 Limited.
A position that sits very easily with him.
“Obviously I’ve been here a while now, and it’s just a nice feeling to be out there on the pitch the way things are going,” he told Wigan Today.
“And I do feel a much bigger part of the club than I have in the past.
“Maybe before I was going out on loan so much, it didn’t allow me to feel part of what was happening here.
“Now it’s different, and I’ve even got my own song, which is very nice – I’m buzzing with that!”
Lang scored his third goal of the campaign to put Latics ahead against Cheltenham on Saturday, before laying on No.2 for Charlie Wyke in the second period.
With Will Keane also bang in form, boss Leam Richardson has an embarrassment of riches in the final third.
“The manager has so many options, even some on the bench who haven’t had much action this year,” acknowledged Lang.
“And it’s important to have that throughout the season. We’ve only just started, and there’s plenty of ups and downs to come.
“We’re going to need players to come in and score goals, and I think we have the right options to be able to do that.
“We’ve obviously started really well, but if you look at the table, it’s still early, and there’s a few teams who’ve also started well.
“We’re certainly not going to get ahead of ourselves as a team, we’ll keep working hard for the next game.”
Lang was one of only five players contracted beyond the end of last season, and he’s had a front row seat for another summer of huge change.
In total, 15 new players arrived in a crazy few weeks, and Lang has been pleasantly surprised with how quickly the side has found its feet.
“When a team has to go out and bring in so many players – because of the situation we were in – you’d normally expect a slowish start, a bit ‘mix and match’,” he said.
“But I think we’ve gelled really well, going back all the way to the start of pre-season.
“Before the practice games you could sense the really good feel around the place, and I think that’s showing out there on the pitch.
“The challenge now is to keep it going, because the hard part is staying at the top.
“It obviously gives you that little bit more confidence to see you’re top of the table. As for pressure, that probably comes more towards the end of the year, it’s still early days.
“Results have been good, performances are still improving, and I still think there’s a lot more to come.”
In keeping with his standing as team leader, Lang is also a hugely popular figure with the fans – which he doesn’t take lightly.
“When the fans see a player working hard for the team, giving everything, they give them respect,” he added.
“I just want to keep working as hard as I can and hopefully retain that respect from the fans.”
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