Paul Cook on when Joe Gelhardt will get a Wigan Athletic start
Wigan Athletic boss Paul Cook says Joe Gelhardt will be handed his first Wigan Athletic start soon – but only if the time and circumstances are right.
Gelhardt, who turned 17 in May, is the most exciting youth prospect that Latics have had in their ranks since 2013 FA Cup Final man of the match Callum McManaman burst onto the scene all those years ago.
The wonderkid has been in stellar form – for both club and country, with the player known as ‘Joffy’ recently scoring three goals in three games during England Under 18’s October fixtures.
Gelhardt captained England to their victories over Poland and Austria and scored after just 12 seconds against the latter.
He was joined by Wigan Athletic team-mate Jensen Weir on the tour – with the son of Everton-ace David also making two starts and one appearance from the bench.
Gelhardt’s outstanding progress has not gone under the radar as he has been linked with Premier League sides Liverpool and Everton once again.
And manager Cook, who has regularly heaped the praise on the rising star, expressed that Wigan Athletic fans will probably not have to wait much longer for Gelhardt to make his first senior start.
“As you’ve seen with young Joffy, I think when results go well, the clamour for the younger lads to be in and around the team isn’t as strong, but when results aren’t going so well, sometimes we can look to them as the one’s to carry the torch,” said Cook, who decided not to bring him on in the midweek loss at Derby County.
“I always think for any young player coming into winning teams and successful teams is a lot better than coming into teams that sometimes maybe aren’t doing so well, so the progression of all the young lads at our club must be dealt with in the correct and proper way.
“Certainly, Joffy seems to be the one who’s a little bit ahead at the minute, and I’m sure people will see him start a Wigan game for sure soon– as will Jensen(Weir) and the rest of the guys that are also doing great.
“We’re providing an environment that is correct and proper, and the senior players here conduct themselves like proper senior players.
“Football today has a lot of personnel and people that probably don’t conduct themselves as well as they should – it’s something that has been brought into football now – certainly at Wigan, we pride ourselves on how good our senior players are, and I’m sure the younger players at our club are learning very well of the senior players.”