Wigan Athletic chief responds reports of Premier League interest in Sam Tickle

Wigan Athletic boss Shaun Maloney says talk of Premier League interest in goalkeeper Sam Tickle can only be a 'really positive thing'.
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The 21-year-old continued his fine start to the season with another solid display in the 2-1 victory over Northampton – only being beaten by a blinding free-kick from Sam Hoskins.

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Despite it being only his third league start, Tickle is already reportedly being monitored by as many as FIVE top-flight outfits.

Sam Tickle celebrates Saturday's victory over Northampton with Kell WattsSam Tickle celebrates Saturday's victory over Northampton with Kell Watts
Sam Tickle celebrates Saturday's victory over Northampton with Kell Watts
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While not appreciating the attention in his young star, Maloney believes the overall situation is very healthy.

"I saw the article, but I've no idea," said the Latics boss.

"Maybe it's a really positive thing for Sam that he's doing that well.

"He's only had three league starts, but you can already see the level of player we have here.

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"We'll keep his feet on the ground, but he's clearly had a very good start to the season."

Tickle was given the No.1 jersey on the eve of the campaign, despite having only made his debut in the final game of last term against Rotherham.

Latics are sure to fight any attempt to take away a player who only signed a new three-year deal four months ago.

Boss Maloney - who only arrived at the club in January - had already earmarked him by that point for a big future.

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"I knew within about four weeks of being here that Sam, I wouldn't say nailed on, but that I would be giving him every opportunity to be No.1," Maloney said earlier this month.

"I really wanted to see how he'd do at the end of last season, when he played against Rotherham, when we had the pay issue.

"So I knew maybe by the beginning of March that we had a special goalkeeper on our hands.

"What's hard is that he didn't have any league experience before, only loan spells at a lower level.

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"I still know he'll have ups and he'll have downs, because this is his first real run as a No.1 goalie.

"But he was very good today and we're delighted with him."

Tickle signed his first professional contract in the summer of 2021, having been with Latics since 2012.

He spent time out on loan at Nantwich Town and Warrington Rylands prior to his ascent into the Latics first-team set-up.

Speaking earlier this summer, Maloney admitted he'd seen in Tickle 'attributes that clubs pay big money for'.

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"Yeah, he's ready, he's ready to push for that No.1 jersey," Maloney said.

"I won't have any guaranteed starter, I'll let football make that decision every week.

"But Sam's been very good since I've been here.

"He's got attributes that clubs pay big money for.

"He's an amazing shot-stopper first and foremost, and he has a brilliant temperament.

"He needs to work on his short passing, but the ability he has with his long kicking is ridiculous.

"He will get caught at times, as all goalkeepers do, but we'll give him all the confidence to play his natural game."