Why Joe Gelhardt chose to stay with Wigan Athletic

"I just like being here."

Sunday, 17th November 2019, 8:10 pm
Joe Gelhardt

The simple yet powerful reason why Young England star Joe Gelhardt opted to pen a long-term contract extension with Wigan Athletic.

Gelhardt had over 18 months left on his current arrangement, but has agreed a new deal that the Wigan Post understands is as long as five years.

"It's a great privilege to play for this club," he said. "I enjoy coming into work every day, it's a great environment

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"I love working with all of the staff and the senior players have always been very welcoming.

"The fans have given me a big boost with their messages of support.

"I just like being here - which is why I've extended my contract."

The 17-year-old has yet to make his first league start, but his eight substitute appearances have already led to him becoming a firm favourite with the supporters.

"It's a big confidence boost when I hear the fans singing my name," he acknowledged.

"It gives me that extra percentage and I want to do my best for the fans when I play."

And having dipped his toe into the first-team water - and scored his maiden goal at Hull in September - he's looking to kick on now his future is secure.

"It's been my first season in the first team squad, and it's been good to get on the bench and make a few appearances," Gelhardt added.

"It's been very beneficial for me and I've been involved a lot more than I thought I would be, so I've just got to carry on working hard.

"It was a big jump coming from the Under 18s to the first team, physically more than technically, but my body has become used to it.

"Pre-season was tough, but the more I've trained as part of the squad, the better I've felt."