McManaman admits he had an extra edge against former side Wigan

Town winger Callum McManaman admitted there was an extra edge to his game when coming on against former side Wigan Athletic on Saturday.

Monday, 9th December 2019, 11:36 am
Updated Monday, 9th December 2019, 11:37 am
Callum McManaman draws Luton level against former side Wigan on Saturday
Callum McManaman draws Luton level against former side Wigan on Saturday

The 28-year-old came through the ranks at the DW Stadium back in July 2008 after signing from Everton as a teenager, having a fine first spell with the club, named man of the match when the Latics won the FA Cup back in 2013, shocking Manchester City 1-0,

He was sold for £4.75m to West Bromwich Albion in January 2015, before making his way back to the club at the start of last season, signed by manager Paul Cook.

However, his return didn’t turn out as expected, as although he played 22 times in the league, just one of those coming from the beginning of a Championship encounter.

McManaman left in the summer, heading to Luton on a free transfer and called on by Town chief Graeme Jones with his side trailing 1-0 on Saturday, he made his intentions known early on, jinking his way past two, firing just wide and then going in for a crunching challenge too.

With three minutes to go, the inevitable for any supporters of a Wigan persuasion happened, as their former star drew Town level, although it looked like the chance had gone with a big swing and a miss on the edge of the box.

A few ricochets later though and McManaman kept his composure to find the bottom corner on his left foot, to make it 1-1, for his third of the season.

Speaking afterwards, McManaman said: "I meant it! I can’t even remember it to be honest.

"I remember spinning and it coming back to me, I’ll have to watch it back again, but it was some buzz when it went in, I’m happy to get the goal and it was a great win.

"I was buzzing to come on and make an impact like that, I was just saying to the lads, once we scored, I fancied us to go on and win it, as the whole ground just picked up and the place was rocking.

“They’re my old club and I wouldn’t say I had a point to prove as the Wigan fans know what I can do, but just the way it happened last season.

"I didn’t really get a chance at Wigan, I came back thinking I was going to have a big part to play and I was gutted about it how it ended.

"So I was up for the game, but I was disappointed I wasn’t starting to be honest, I thought I was going to be playing, so I knew I had to do something off the bench.

“That’s how I play, there was an extra bit of edge and Wigan are right near us in the league as well, so we knew it was six-pointer.

“I think Wigan fans know me well by now, they’ll be knowing I’ll be celebrating every goal I score.

"I don’t want to rub it in their face, but I was always going to be celebrating if I scored, so hopefully they can understand it."

Town boss Graeme Jones was always going to unleash McManaman against his former club on the day, it was just a matter of when.

He said: "The big swing was a trick, but I knew Callum had the bit between his teeth all week.

"That’s another aspect of management, I knew he wanted to play and I wanted to get him on earlier, but I just felt Andrew (Shinnie) was tiring, Shins is somebody I trust and I thought George (Moncur) would be a better sub at that point.

"I brought Callum on and just changed the shape a little bit, tried to play the two of them a little bit more inside, it definitely gave us a bit more, we came into the game and we got two goals from that momentum.

“He’s had setbacks Callum in the last two or three years, we’ve been working with him a long, long time now, and he’s getting confidence in his muscles again and confidence in his body.

"It must be frustrating for him because he's been a Premier League player, he’s won an FA Cup, and he’s having to sit on the bench.

"I told him and Kaz (Kazenga LuaLua), I was disappointed with their contribution when they came on against Leeds.

"Today is the opposite, but if you work hard enough for long enough behind the scenes, the game rewards you and that’s what happened."

After McManaman scored, it was down to a fellow replacement George Moncur to bag the winner in stoppage time, but Latics boss Cook wasn't overly interested in discussing his former player, adding: "It's football, it's the nature of the game, we just keep going, it's tough.

"People say it can't rain forever, it's not doing a bad job at the minute."