Wigan Athletic have appointed their third permanent manager of the season (and handed out their third 3+ year contract too…) in the shape of Latics legend Shaun Maloney!
The Scotsman played 91 times for Latics during his playing career and will need no introduction to our supporters. He arrived from Celtic in 2011 but struggled to break into the side in his first 6 months at the club, only to make a huge impact in the run in.
Maloney caught the eye away at Norwich City and made a brilliant assist for Victor Moses, a goal that ultimately started the greatest of great escapes. He played a huge part in keeping us up that season with goals against Liverpool, Manchester United and Newcastle and cemented himself as a hero amongst supporters straight away.
His most important contribution came on the 11th of May 2013. His whipped, dipping and perfect corner found the head of Ben Watson who won us the FA Cup with his flick on. From that moment Maloney, and all of the players in that squad, were immortalised in Latics history. Now Maloney is in the managerial hot seat and looking to build on his legendary status.
His coaching career is still in its infancy but he’s had a lot of interesting experiences in this short time. Working in Celtic’s B team with players like Kieran Tierney, Anthony Ralston and Ryan Christie who would all go on to become Scotland internationals, working at Belgium with Roberto Martinez coaching the likes of Kompany, De Bruyne, Hazard and Lukaku and most recently in charge of Hibernian where he managed a couple more decent young players.
The Hibs job didn’t go quite as Maloney would’ve liked but the context behind his struggles does give him some leeway. They’d lost their best attacker to a season ending injury and had sold their second best in the summer, so he was dealt a tricky hand at the top end of the pitch. Defensively they were superb, only bettered by Rangers and Celtic, so saying he was hampered by his lack of options up top is not a hard argument to make.
He’s clearly been influenced a lot by Martinez and seemed to favour a 3-4-2-1 at Hibs. There were times where he played a back 4, mainly against the bottom 3 sides in the league, but considering we’re THE worst side in the league I’m expecting a back 3.
Anyway, if you want to find out more about what I think about Maloney you can check out my Sensible Appointments article that I posted after Leam was sacked. Maloney was one of the options I picked and with what has changed since then I think he’s an even more suitable fit to lead the rebuild and survival battle.
I’m feeling more positive about this appointment than I thought I would, definitely more than I was when Kolo arrived. Here are 5 reasons why I believe he’s the man to keep us up.