Wigan Athletic starlet tipped for the top
Gregor Rioch believes Dean Pinnington could soon become the second Manxman in Wigan Athletic’s first-team set-up after securing his first professional contract.
The 18-year-old midfielder, who joined the Academy last season from Premier League Wolves, has been rewarded for helping Latics retain the Professional Development League North title and becoming Professional Development League national champions.
And Rioch is hoping he will follow in the footsteps of defender Adam Long, who was also born in Douglas, and became a first-team regular last term.
“Dean was born in the Isle of Man, and I’ve been tracking him since he was 14 years old,” said Rioch.
“When we signed Adam Long, and we went out to do our homework and background on Adam, we came across Dean.
“He ended up signing for Wolves, which was a good move for him, with them being a Premier League Club and a Category One Academy.
“He was signed up for Wolves for four years as an Under 14 through to the Under 18s, and then he was released.
“We then took the opportunity to bring him to the club at the end of last season. He played with us for around six weeks and was involved with the U18s squad for the play-offs and the national final.
“We are delighted to have signed him on a professional contract. I have been tracking him for a long time, and I’m delighted to finally get our man.
“He’s a really bubbly and bright character who will be great for the changing room, and the Under 23s group.
“He is someone who will be looking to try and bridge the gap between the Under 23s and first-team.”
Pinnington came through the Isle of Man Centre of Excellence, and went on to represent the island as a junior from the age of 10 to 15, before joining Wolves.
He joins goalkeeper Sam Tickle, defender Kieran Lloyd, striker Tom Costello, and midfielders Scott Smith, Baba Adeeko, Harry McGee and Harry McHugh in signing pro deals from last season’s squad.
Star winger Sean McGurk has departed, joining Joe Gelhardt at Premier League Leeds earlier this month.
The future of centre-back James Carragher – son of Jamie – remains up in the air.
He was offered a new deal at the end of last season, but it remains unsigned – and Everton are believed to be monitoring the situation.
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