Wigan Athletic star aiming to cement 'natural position'

Kal Naismith
Kal Naismith

Kal Naismith admits he’s targeting a regular run in midfield next term after proving himself to be Wigan Athletic’s ‘Mr Versatile’.

The 27-year-old joined Latics last summer on a free transfer from Portsmouth, primarily to add depth to the attacking midfield positions.

But following a long-term injury to Antonee Robinson, he found himself thrust into the left-back berth for a three-month period.

And he filled in heroically at centre-back at Leeds on Good Friday, after Cedric Kipre’s early sending-off, in a famous 2-1 away win.

While obviously happy to play wherever his manager asks, he admits his preference would be to focus his options on his natural position moving forwards.

“I played in so many positions this season...but I just love playing football,” he told the Wigan Post.

“I believe I can take to any position I’m faced with, because the fundamentals are the same.

“I suppose long term I would like to get a level of consistency in the one position, if at all possibly.

“If I could play maybe 25-30 games in the same position – especially in my natural position of midfield – it allows you to kick on.

“And that’s definitely my goal for next season.”

Naismith’s Elland Road display was one of the stand-out memories of the campaign, with him slotting in effortlessly alongside Chey Dunkley.

“It was brilliant the Leeds game, even though I’m not used to centre-back,” he admitted.

“I just love the whole idea of trying to keep a clean sheet, throwing your body in the way of the ball, doing everything you can to protect the goal.

“Even at training in small-sided games I hate losing, hate conceding goals, and I’m so competitive.

“I relished the challenge of Leeds, being thrown in at the deep end, and it was great to come away with the win which proved so important in the end.”

Naismith’s decision to follow Paul Cook to the north west was certainly vindicated, and he says the aim now – for him and the team – is to build on ‘a great platform’.

“Now we’ve had a year together as a squad and staff, it gives us a great platform to build for the future,” he acknowledged.

“We’ll have some time off, we’ll enjoy the summer, but we’ll try and do even better next season.”