Opinion: Case for the fortified defence

The big Spaniard’s display against Bournemouth at the weekend was the most notable of a host of youngsters who came into the line up.

A late over-confident blip aside, Golobart took over the centre back position as if he had been there for years, ably commanding the back line and first team professionals Maynor Figueroa and  Emmerson Boyce in the process.

Golobart’s performance was the main highlight of an otherwise poor game for the Latics as Bournemouth showed a greater desire to get the result.

Jordi Gomez was given another chance to impress but once more was second best, this time against League One opposition whilst Ronnie Stam also had a poor game as he was given the run around by Cherries winger Mark Pugh.

Up front and it wasn’t much better as expensive flop Mauro Boselli failed to capitalise on his early season form. The £5 million striker was easily marshalled by the Bournemouth defence.

It was left to the young lads to step forward and show what they could do and players such as Golobart, McManaman, Redmond, and new loanee Henriquez were keen to do just that.

Playing a weakened line up in the cup games is nothing new to Latics supporters who have had a tough time in Cup competitions since joining the elite. This is obviously excluding the Carling cup Final in our first even top flight season.

Where the major change has occurred is the average age of the line up.

Forty-odd year old Mike Pollitt aside and Roberto Martinez’s line up had a strong youthful streak running through the centre of it.

The Latics boss has spoken at length how if the club are to achieve the next level then we need to focus on developing players. Not only are these players hungry to impress but the y are acquired cheaper and developed by the club.

In a week where the youngsters outperformed the first team professionals and the club turned in a healthy accounting profit it was fitting to realise that gone are the days where the wages bill
represented over 90% of turnover and our first eleven was a hotch-potch of over paid has-beens.

There will be times when the youngsters get it wrong and there will be times when they develop to a level whereby the next step in their career is beckoning. But isn’t it much better to be watching a Wigan Athletic with the potential to develop further as a club and continue to punch above our weight as opposed to fighting to survive each year with players on for one last pay-day?