Wigan Athletic's new-boy who's taking the scenic route to stardom

Liam Morrison has big boots to fill as the first signing of the Mike Danson era at Wigan Athletic.
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And if the loan capture of the Bayern Munich and Scotland Under-21 centre-back is a sign of things to come, the future is set to be very bright at the DW Stadium.

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Wigan Athletic kick off recruitment with capture of Bayern Munich centre-half

The 20-year-old was earmarked by the Guardian as one of the 60 best young players on the planet in 2020.

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Liam Morrison
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It was that promise that led to Bayern Munich plucking him from the Celtic Academy - with comparisons already having been made to Germany stalwart Mats Hummels.

And Morrison himself did little to dampen any expectation after arriving in Germany.

"The final goal for me is to be the best defender in the world, that is the ultimate goal," he told the Mail at the time. "It needs so much hard work and I know I have a long way to go to get to where I want to be.

"I have to keep my feet on the ground, stay grounded and work hard. How I get there is by constantly trying to make myself a better player.

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"Playing alongside great players can only help me in that respect.

"When the Bayern offer came along, it's not really a club you can turn down, is it?

"It was such an attractive offer. It was a no-brainer for me and my family.”

Bayern Academy manager Jochen Sauer was already acutely aware of the player's potential.

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"Liam had a lot of offers from some well-known European clubs," he said. "We're delighted he decided to join Bayern.

"He's a robust and physical defender with a lot of quality."

Morrison's time in Germany hasn't been the smoothest of rides.

Shortly after his arrival, the world was hit by the Covid pandemic that left him alone in a foreign country at an uncertain time for everyone.

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When football restarted, he was then affected by a series of injuries that limited his game-time.

But a good run of games in the Under-19s saw him rewarded with a new two-year contract - and, crucially, the carrot of first-team football on the horizon.

“The ultimate goal for me is to make the first team and hopefully stay in the first team," he told the Sun at the time. "I don’t want to just play one game and fall away. I want to cement a place in the first team.

“The club wanted me to sign a deal for two more years and I wanted to stay so it was easy enough to get done.

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“There were a lot of doubts. I felt as if maybe I hadn’t done enough and I had injuries too. But Bayern showed great belief in me."

He'd also had his appetite whetted by training against some of the top attacking talents in Europe.

“I trained with the first team a few times...and it’s just so intense," Morrison said.

"I came back after an injury and played a bounce game up against Leroy Sane. I had no chance!

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“I was as rusty as you can get and he was just sprinting past me.

"But he’s one of the best players in the world, and that’s the level you have to reach at this club.

“I was looking at Robert Lewandowski and thinking ‘Wow. You’re the best striker in the world’ and I see him most days of the week.

"It’s crazy, especially as a young boy from Scotland. I never once expected as a young kid playing football that I would be here seeing these stars every day.

"It’s a dream come true.”

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For the next year or so, that ‘dream’ journey will detour to Wigan, where he'll work under a fellow Scot who also made his mark on the world stage.

Shaun Maloney firmly believes Morrison has the quality to serve Latics well in the short term - and Bayern even better in the long run.