SHAUN Wane has taken John Bateman out of the firing line.
The Warriors boss admits he has been “hurting” because he has over-exposed the 21-year-old forward.
Because of our injuries, I’ve done everything I said I wouldn’t do with JohnShaun Wane
When Bateman was signed from Bradford at the end of 2013, Wane planned to carefully manage how much first-team he played as they developed his undoubted potential.
But he ended up playing 29 games in his debut campaign and, so far this season, he has played 18 matches – as many as any other Wigan player.
With centre Anthony Gelling back from injury, Joel Tomkins can return to the backrow to face Warrington tomorrow night – giving Bateman a chance to rest up a chest injury which he has played on with.
Wane candidly admitted: “Because of our injuries, I’ve done everything I said I wouldn’t do with John.
“He’s played a lot more minutes. He’s still a kid, he’s nowhere near the weight I want him to be, and we need to do the right thing by John. It’s been hurting me playing him every week.
“I’ve totally gone against everything we said we were going to do. And that did concern me, I didn’t like it, but we had no alternative (due to injuries).”
Bateman’s strong form has not gone unnoticed by England coach Steve McNamara, and Wane reckons he will only improve as his body is hulked up.
“He’s only 90kg,” he said “He needs to gradually getting up to the 100kg over the next two or three years.”