Callum McManaman admits he can’t wait for his second Wigan Athletic ‘debut’ at Chesterfield on Wednesday night – and the chance to make up for lost time.
The 27-year-old rejoined Latics last Friday, three-and-a-half years after being sold to West Brom for £4.75million.
The Baggies were unable to tap into McManaman’s undoubted potential, and a switch to Sunderland midway through last term was also more frustrating than fruitful.
But after jumping at the chance to return to the club with whom he m ade his name – and won the FA Cup in 2013 – McManaman is targeting the friendly at Chesterfield, and Sunday’s trip to Rangers, as the first steps itowards redemption.
“I’m definitely hoping to be involved in both the games,” he told the Wigan Post.
“I’ve had a decent pre-season with Sunderland, got some minutes under my belt, so I’m good to go.
“I’ve trained hard with the lads here since I signed and I’m in a good place.
“It’s just a case of getting minutes into the legs now and getting ready for the season.”
McManaman feels getting the deal done well in advance of the new season – which starts for Latics with the visit of Sheffield Wednesday on August 4 – will also help him to hit the ground running.
“I’ve never been in this position of getting the deal done early,” acknowledged McManaman, who spent time on loan with the Owls in 2017.
“Whenever I’ve moved clubs it’s always been deadline day, or last-minute, and you’re having to force your way in, playing catch-up.
“This time feels great, I’ve played a few games and I’ll be ready when the season starts.”
McManaman has alrready dipped his toe into the water of his second spell with Latics, having taken part in a practice game during the club’s recent warm-weather training camp in Spain just hours after jetting in to join the group.
And he picked up where he left off by setting up the only goal of the game against Gibraltar United for Jamie Walker with a trademark mazy dribble.
“I was really tired, I’d only had a couple of hours sleep...travelling all day and then the medical,” said McManaman.
“But I wanted to play, the gaffer was keen to have a look at me, and it was great to get out there. It was nice to be involved in the goal and it gave me a taste of what’s to come.”
McManaman also admitted it’s been great to be back among friends.
“I’ve played with a few of the lads like Nick (Powell), before and I’ve known Max (Power) for years, and that’s been a big help,” he added.