Wigan Athletic wonderkids 'so comfortable at this level', says Paul Cook

Paul Cook heaped the plaudits on teenage sensations Joe Gelhardt and Jensen Weir after Wigan Athletic rounded off their pre-season preparations with a 2-2 draw against Premier League Burnley.
Joe GelhardtJoe Gelhardt
Joe Gelhardt

Despite finding themselves two goals down inside 11 minutes, through goals from Jay Rodriguez and Dwight McNeil, Latics fought their way back to earn a share of the spoils.

Anthony Pilkington pulled one back on the half-hour mark, before 17-year-old Gelhardt - on as a second-half substitute - scored his first senior goal inside the final quarter with a great finish.

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Weir, also 17, made his presence felt off the bench as well, underlining exactly why Cook says they'll be challenging for first-team jerseys with Latics this season rather than being sent out on loan.

"I have to give special mention again to the two young lads who did well again," enthused the Latics boss.

"They've done a full pre-season with us, five weeks work, and not missed one session.

"And they just look so comfortable in their surroundings playing at this level.

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"Joffy with his goal and Jensen with the information he takes in, massive pat on the back for the pair of them."

On the back of Wednesday's 0-0 draw against Everton, which Latics shaded, it was an encouraging way to head into the Championship campaign, which gets under way next weekend.

"It was always going to be a tough game after Wednesday night...two very good Premier League teams in the space of three days," acknowledged Cook.

"But we started the game so poorly, I think that was there for everyone to see.

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"Within that, the lads just lose confidence quick, we're looking for character and leadership out there and it didn't seem to be there at that moment.

"From then on, though, we came back into the game very well, and we got the goal back.

"If somebody had told me after 12 minutes we'd come off at the end not getting beat, and putting in a level of performance we did, we'd all have taken that!"

Not that Cook is reading too much into the result, with plenty of work to do regarding recruitment before the transfer window closes at 5pm on August 8.

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"It's like at Bradford last weekend - your problems at 3pm are still your problems at 5pm," he added.

"And on Wednesday night, your problems at 7.45pm are still your problems at 9.45pm.

"Today, our problems at kick-off are still our problems now.

"But in the modern way of the world, we go from result to result.

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"If we'd have won 3-2 today, everything is perfect in the world.

"If we'd lost 5-0, well the world's about to end.

"The reality is...it's none of the above.

"We just have to keep going, keep working hard and see where it takes us."