Wigan Athletic star Will Keane's goal glut explained

Wigan Athletic boss Leam Richardson has revealed the secret behind Will Keane’s career-best form.

By Paul Kendrick
Thursday, 27th January 2022, 2:06 pm

The former Manchester United junior scored his 14th and 15th goals of the campaign against Gillingham to propel Latics back to the top of League One.

He’s already smashed his previous seasonal best of 11 – set last term – with half of the campaign still to go.

Not bad for a player whose chequered injury record saw him regarded as a huge gamble when he arrived in October 2020, during the dark days of administration.

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Will Keane

Since then, the turnaround in his fortunes – and Latics’ – has been extraordinary.

Incredibly, the 29-year-old has made 53 of his 126 career starts during his 16 months as a Wigan player.

Apart from a spell out with Covid, he’s been a virtual ever-present for his club, producing form that has even seen him called up for the first time by Ireland.

And his manager is left to reflect on a gamble that has already paid off many times over.

“The biggest compliment I can give Will is what a fantastic person he is as well as a fantastic player,” said Richardson.

“He understands the game so well, and he just loves playing the game.

“We obviously knew the qualities he had before we signed him - everybody can see that.

“I think he’s using his attributes more than he ever has, and you can see that in what he’s producing in his performances.

“Last year was his best return so far, and he’s already bettered that with half the season to go.

“I have the pleasure of working with him every day, so it’s no surprise to me at what he’s producing

“Fingers crossed he can keep adding to that tally.”

As to the reasons behind Keane’s injury-free purple patch, Richardson says there are several factors.

“It’s down to the environment here, and the ethos at the training ground,” he said.

“Everyone takes the credit – from the medical guys, to the strength and conditioning team, to Will himself.

“I’m huge on conditioning and nutrition, because we’re asking the players to peak every seven days, sometimes every three or four days.

“It’s important we handle that on an individual basis, because everyone’s different.

“We’re taking real good care of Will, and it’s paying good dividends at the moment.”

Richardson also sees parallels between Keane and another former Old Trafford youngster who made two trips to Wigan, the first on loan and the second one on a permanent basis.

“I think he has very similar qualities to Nick Powell, I see that,” said Richardson.

“He’s obviously come from a similar background, they’re similar personalities off the field, and they’re both an absolute pleasure to work with.”

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