Wigan Athletic wonderkid Joe Gelhardt reflects on 'great moment for me and my family'

Joe Gelhardt
Joe Gelhardt

"I'll remember it for the rest of my life."

The words of 17-year-old Joe Gelhardt after scoring his first goal in senior football to round off a memorable pre-season with Wigan Athletic.

Latics rounded off their summer programme with a 2-2 draw against Premier League Burnley - on the back of last Wednesday's 0-0 draw against Everton.

Despite going two goals down inside 11 minutes, thanks to goals from Jay Rodriguez and Dwight McNeil, Latics pulled one back on the half-hour through Anthony Pilkington.

The stage was then set for Gelhardt, who entered the fray as on the hour mark, and took just eight minutes to rifle home the first goal of his career.

"It's a great moment for me and my family - a very proud moment," Gelhardt told the Wigan Post.

"When I saw the ball hit the back of the net I was over the moon.

"It was an unreal moment, my first goal in senior football, it's so special.

"I'll remember it for the rest of my life.

"The first thing I did was look up at mum, who's done everything for me.

"I hope she enjoyed it as much as I did.

"There were so many friends and family here to see it, it's a proud moment for sure."

Gelhardt has already been told by Paul Cook he'll be in the first-team squad this season, along with England Under-17 team-mate Jensen Weir.

And he's pinching himself at how well the duo have taken to life in the big time this summer.

"I've played a few games now with the first team in pre-season," he added.

"To get so many minutes on the field is excellent for me in my development.

"I've tried to embrace the challenge rather than fear it, and just enjoy myself as much as I can.

"I don't really get nervous...well I do, but in a good way!

"It's something I try to use to help my game rather than affect it.

"Rather than shy away, I like to get on the ball and express myself, and it's going well at the moment!"