How ‘Cedric Who’ became the main man at Wigan Athletic!

Cedric Kipre
Cedric Kipre

Cedric Kipre has fast become the central figure at the heart of the Wigan Athletic defence.

Not bad for someone who the vast majority of Latics fans wouldn’t have even heard of 24 hours before the opening game of the season!

Since then, his rise to prominence has been little short of phenomenal.

Thrown in for his debut against Sheffield Wednesday, the day after signing from Motherwell – with Dan Burn nursing a broken foot – Kipre quickly formed a mean partnership with Chey Dunkley.

In recent weeks Burn has returned to the fold, with Dunkley now out after undergoing knee surgery, to form a new-look combo with Kipre.

But the Latics backline continues to impress, with only a freak late own goal from Burn against Blackburn in midweek preventing

back-to-back clean sheets.

Plenty of positives to take into Saturday’s big derby at Bolton, with Kipre – the only Latics man to be named in the matchday squad for every game in all competitions this term – again expected to be one of the first names on the team sheet.

“They say it takes time to build central defensive partnerships and I think that’s right,” said Burn of his pal.

“Look at Cedric and Chey at the start of the season, they helped each other along for a few games and then they were flying.

“With Chey out injured it’s me and Cedric, and it seems to be working all right.

“It takes a few games to work out what the other is doing, but we’re pleased with the way it’s going at the moment.”

For his part, Kipre is delighted at the way he’s handled the pressure of being thrown in at the deep end.

“I’ve felt comfortable playing in defence with both Dan and Chey,” he said.

“With Chey I played on the left which was slightly more difficult because I’m right footed, whereas with Dan I’m playing on the right, which is more natural to me.

“I’ve struck up good relationships with both of them, but we all know we can always do more for the team.

“I know I have a lot of things to improve on, but the staff have been excellent with me in the way they teach me.”

Having spent 12 months with Motherwell, whom he joined from Paris St Germain, Kipre admits the transition to English football has been seamless.

“The quality of the division is exactly what I expected,” he acknowledged. “It’s a very tough league.

“It’s a big chance from playing at Motherwell, where the volume of quality teams to play against wasn’t always there.

“Technically the teams in England are much better, but the tempo is more relaxed, whereas in Scotland the tempo is very, very high.

“I get a bit more time on the ball in the Championship and that’s good for the way the manager wants me to play.”

And having already experienced international football, albeit at Under-23 level, he admits that is the next step in his career development.

“I’d love to earn my first call-up for the Ivory Coast senior team,” he added.

“I was called into the Under-23 team last year and it gave me the taste for it.

“I was very proud to wear the shirt of my parents’ country, and I can only hope that I’ll be given the opportunity to do it again.

“If I keep doing what I’m doing, and continue to improve, then I’m confident of earning a place in the squad at some point in the future.”