In light of recent events, Wigan Athletic winger Callum McManaman has developed a reputation which isn’t a true reflection of the player.
He has received a lot of negative attention from the media and press due to the tackle on Newcastle United full-back Massadio Haidara, which was a definitely a red card challenge - this article in not an attempt to defend the tackle.
However, to make an assumption on a player due to a single event is very narrow-minded. This article aims to look at the wider picture and highlights the positive aspects of McManaman’s game.
The 21-year-old is always 100 per cent committed in every game, has a tireless work-rate and is willing to track back at all times.
He isn’t what has seemed to become the typical winger: a Cristiano Ronaldo-style winger that uses flair in order to beat defenders. Instead McManaman has a very good close control coupled with speed and quickness of mind.
He is able to develop a yard of space to produce a cross and his delivery is improving with every game he plays, recently crossing for Jean Beausejour to score his first goal for Wigan in the game against Newcastle.
If he continues to develop this aspect of his game, he could gain a lot of assists for the Wigan side in years to come.
Although McManaman’s starts have been largely limited to the cup competitions, he has shown an eye for goal in these games. He’s scored three goals in eight cup appearances and won a penalty which Wigan subsequently scored from. This shows that he possesses an attacking threat coupled with a fine finishing ability - a promising combination.
This ability was clearly shown in the FA Cup win at Everton earlier this month. He raced on to a loose pass from Phil Neville, managed to burst away from Sylvain Distin at centre-back and finished with a delicate shot into the far corner. The finish was of a player who is able to keep calm under pressure and one that is currently playing with confidence.
I feel this confidence comes from his manager having faith in his ability and offering the opportunities to show what he can do. He’s taken his chance and now he needs to continue producing attacking performances to the best of his ability.
After going out on loan to Blackpool last year, McManaman has learnt from his experience and has returned as a player who could have a pivotal career ahead of him.
Obviously he’s still a young lad with a lot to learn but, if he continues to put his head down and work hard, with the guidance of a manager of Roberto Martinez's calibre he could become a Premier League star for the Latics.
There is no doubt McManaman is not the finished article, but he could be a diamond in the rough. With the right guidance and leadership, this player could be moulded into a star player.
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