Does Morgan Escare have a future at Wigan Warriors? - comment
Morgan Escare says he will fight for his place in the Wigan side, but it's going to be tough for him.
He was already out of the first-team frame, and this week's arrival of Bevan French - a utility back who favours full-back - will nudge Escare further down the pecking order.
Escare was a surprise signing when he joined on a one-year deal but, after some dazzling performances, he was quickly rewarded with a new three-year deal which runs until the end of 2020.
I knew he was popular but until this year, I didn't realise just how big his fanclub was. And I understand why his supporters are disappointed they’ve not seen him.
But I also completely understand why he’s struggled for game-time under Adrian Lam.
He got a good run in the team when Sam Tomkins was injured and when he was fit, Shaun Wane devised a way to use both players.
Escare often came off the bench when Tomkins switched from full-back to half-back during a match; the Frenchman effectively took the bench hooker role.
But that option isn’t open to Lam now the dependable Zak Hardaker is his No.1, because he doesn't play halfback.
It’s why Escare has played just twice at his preferred role at full-back. In fairness, there was another occasion when Hardaker was missing, and Lam opted to use Dan Sarginson there instead... but his performance at Headingley more than validated his decision.
That move, remember, also allowed Chris Hankinson to start at right centre, and his masterful kicking that night ultimately proved vital in securing a win which began a run of five straight victories.
Escare has also played three matches on the wing this year but even his biggest fans will concede he doesn’t look as comfortable on the flank as he does at full-back. And while he is a livewire, and has the ability to crack open a tight match from the bench, he has never really been given a crack as a bench hooker, suggesting he isn't suited for the role.
Which brings us to now, and the question: What is going to happen with Morgan Escare?
He was already out of the picture and with French on board, too, it's even harder to plot a route back into the side for him unless injuries bite.
He has been linked with a return to Catalans, but Escare took to Twitter last night to insist he plans to honour his contract and fight for his place.
The clock is ticking if any transfer is going to take place this year – clubs only have until August 9 to sign players for the current season.
I understand why he's not getting picked. And I understand, too, why he wants to stay - he has every right to hold the club to a contract.
But it's a shame, because he is too good to not be playing. Escare is more exciting than many of the players in the competition; the kind of player who can light up the dullest of games.
There have been occasions this year when I've been torn between watching an uninspiring Friday night fixture on TV or not, and an exciting player can sway my decision. Jake Connor is a big reason I’ll watch Hull, Jackson Hastings at Salford, and so on.
Escare has that X-Factor about him. And as his absence from the Wigan side stretches on, it makes me realise there's another loser in all of this; Super League as a whole.