Yanic aims to show his Dutch class
Yanic Wildschut had to take one step backwards last year in order to take a couple forwards.
But as he returns to the Championship with Wigan Athletic this weekend, the flying Dutchman insists he has unfinished business at this level.
Wildschut took the gamble of leaving a Middlesbrough side aiming to win promotion to the Premier League, to join a Latics team who found themselves in the third tier after two relegations in three season.
But inspired by their new arrival, Latics booked their place back in the Championship at the first attempt.
And the 24-year-old can’t wait to have a second crack at a division he acknowledges is ‘one of the biggest around’.
He told the Evening Post: “When I first came here, and the manager and the chairman told me what their plans and ambitions were, I said straight away that I wanted to be part of it.
“Everybody wants to play at the highest level possible.
“For us, that’s the Championship at the moment, and we’re happy to be there.
“But we want to do as well as we can and try and push ourselves even more.
“We know it’s going to be really hard, especially with the amount of good teams in the division.
“It’s probably going to be one of the biggest leagues around, and we’re just looking forward to playing in the games.”
Wildschut was on target with a trademark goal in Wigan’s last pre-season hit-out – a 4-3 victory at Fleetwood last weekend.
It was one of only two wins in eight outings for Latics ahead of the new campaign, but Wildschut is not reading too much into recent results.
“Some of the results haven’t been the best in pre-season,” he recognised. “But if you look at how we were at the beginning of pre-season, you can see everyone has been getting better, getting fitter, getting sharper.
“The only thing missing was the end product, putting the ball in the net, and we have been working hard to make sure that’s as good as it should be.
“We’ve been unfortunate with picking a few injuries in pre-season, but we know we have the quality in the squad.
“Everybody knows it, and we know it ourselves as well.
“That’s why I’m not really concerned about the results in pre-season.
“We know what we’re capable of and we know we’ll be able to do it when it counts.”
Wildschut is speaking at Wigan’s new state-of-the-art training centre at Euxton, that it’s hoped will help the club get back to the big time in the not-too-distant future.
“It’s really nice, everything is really big, you can easily get lost here!” Wildschut laughs.
“Seriously, the pitches are very good, everything is very well looked after, and we’re all really happy with it.
“Thanks to the chairman and the club, we are lucky to be here, and we have to translate that on to the pitch now.
“No-one can blame the club now – it’s over to the players who have to do our part, and we are happy to be able to focus on our football.”
Wildschut will have to wait for a reunion with his old Middlesbrough pals after the Teessiders won promotion to the top flight at the end of last term.
However, he’s hoping to be sharing a pitch again – as equals – before too long.
“I’m happy for Middlesbrough, although it would have been nice to play against them this year,” he added.
“I think they’re going to do well in the Premier League, although maybe in the cup we might come up against each other.
“To be honest, I don’t really mind if I don’t play against them again.
“I’m at Wigan now, and I just want to do as good a job here as possible.”