Wigan Athletic starlet aiming to follow in Callum Lang's footsteps
Scott Smith is aiming to follow the Callum Lang blueprint towards securing first-team football at Wigan Athletic.
Having watched Lang use loan spells at Morecambe, Oldham, Shrewsbury and Motherwell as a springboard to breaking into the Latics starting XI, Smith is hoping to follow in his close pal's footsteps.
"I think Langy is probably the perfect example of working your way into the first team," said Smith, who signed a new deal with Latics over the summer.
"He's come through the Academy, and he's been out on loan and proved himself elsewhere.
"That meant when he came back he was able to become a star man in a brilliant team.
"A lot of that was down to Langy's attitude, in that he was prepared to go that extra mile because he wanted to better himself and improve himself.
"For me, it's been brilliant to have been so close to him, because there's so much you can learn from someone like him."
With fellow Academy graduate Thelo Aasgaard having burst onto the scene this term, Smith says the pathway from junior ranks to first team is there for all to see.
"I think it's vital for that pathway to be there," he said. "If you've got that, it's something that's there for the younger lads to aim for.
"I know when Langy was out on loan, three or four years ago, I was one of those young lads who were looking on and watching him with interest.
"It helped me come in every day, seeing that all the hard work would eventually pay off, and I'm in that position now.
"That's why the likes of Langy and Thelo are doing so well...not only are they good players, but they're so grounded, their feet are on the ground, and that helps them.
"It's something that's definitely drilled into you in the Academy, that you're being developed as a person as much as a player.
"That comes from Gregor (Rioch) and the staff, and all the players buy into it to be fair.
"You know that every time you go out there, you're representing the shirt, and you have to carry yourself in the right way."