Wigan Athletic chief hails 'calmness' of latest recruit
Wigan Athletic boss Leam Richardson hailed the 'calmness' of Tendayi Darikwa after securing his services for the next two years.
Darikwa joined Latics in January following his departure from Nottingham Forest, and was a mainstay in the second half of the campaign.
After making his debut in the 3-3 draw at Rochdale in January, the Zimbabwe international went on to make a further 25 league appearances as Latics won their fight against relegation.
And Richardson - who had previously worked with Darikwa at Chesterfield - was determined to retain his services as part of the rebuild under Phoenix 2021 Limited.
“I think he’s an excellent signing," said the gaffer. "I’ve obviously worked with Tendayi over a few periods, and he brings a real calmness to the team.
“There are two characters to a footballer - one on the pitch and one in the changing rooms - and in my opinion, Tendayi is excellent in both.
“He sets standards in training for himself and others, and then on the pitch, the quality speaks for itself.”
The 29-year-old admitted his decision to stay was largely down to Richardson's persuasive powers.
“I’m delighted to be back here at the football club,” he said.
“I really enjoyed my time during the second half of last season when I joined. We’ve been speaking for a few weeks now, and I can’t wait to get going again.
“I’m really grateful to the manager for bringing me in, and giving me the opportunity to play football matches. Hopefully, I can continue that next season and we can be successful together.
“Leam was probably the main reason (to re-sign). As soon as he signed his deal last season, he outlined his plans for this year and it was something I wanted to be part of.
“I now want to take this football club back to where it should be.”
Being one of a number of the squad to have played at a higher level, Darikwa is certainly looking up the ladder rather than down.
“It’s no secret how tough last season was for the football club, and obviously the supporters,” he added.
“Now the club’s in a better position to hopefully climb up the divisions, and let’s see where we get to.
“You can see the players that have signed this summer, they’re all either players who have played at this level or have played even higher.
“It’s exciting to be part of such a quality squad.”
Latics have also secured the services of a couple of their highly-rated junior players.
Development Squad captain Scott Smith, 20, has extended his contract, while 18-year-old right-back Kieran Lloyd – who joined Latics from Liverpool – has signed his first professional deal.
They join Sam Tickle, Harry McGee, Baba Adeeko, Harry McHugh and Tom Costello, who penned new deals last month.