Martinez' little white lie a true tonic for McManaman as reprieved winger paints it black for Huddersfield
Huddersfield 1 Wigan 4:Callum McManaman had a miserable Saturday night after being informed by manager Roberto Martinez he would not be trusted with a key role in Wigan’s bid to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals for only the second time in their history. Fortunately for the 20-year-old, a very distant relation of the former Liverpool and England winger Steve, the manager was not being entirely honest.
“He’s a real street footballer and he gets so hyped up – when he’s played in the previous rounds he hasn’t been able to last 90 minutes,” the Spaniard explained. “I could see yesterday [on Saturday] he was starting to show a bit of anxiety, so we told him he wasn’t playing so he could have a good night’s sleep. He was a bit angry but when he found out he was playing this morning he was delighted.”
His white lie worked to perfection, as McManaman scored the first goal and made the second in a comfortable victory that underlined the progress that Wigan have made in their Premier League years.
‘He has learned’
“It’s great because as a young man he has learned,” said Martinez. “There can be problems if you get too hyped up. He is such a talented young man, a typical winger who loves the one-on-one, and the sort you would pay money to watch.”
Now Wigan can look forward to a quarter-final trip to either Oldham or more likely Everton. James McArthur, who had unlocked Huddersfield’s defence with a delightful pass to set up McManaman’s opener in the 31st minute, drove in a glorious third 10 minutes into the second half to kill off any outside chance of a fightback by the Championship team, who were strangely timid in their first game under Mark Robins.
Huddersfield earned a consolation goal from substitute Lee Novak, whose introduction with James Vaughan to share the workload previously shouldered by Alan Lee as a lone target man sparked their attack.
But Arouna Kone, who had flicked in Wigan’s second after McManaman’s driven low cross – replays later showing he did so from an offside position – then pounced on a defensive error to add a clinical fourth.
“We spent most of our day chasing their players, because they were excellent with the movement they produce,” said Robins, the former Manchester United striker who has been tempted to return north from Coventry City by Huddersfield’s ambitious management.
“We were the architects of our own downfall at times because our problem-solving wasn’t quick enough. But we won’t be facing opponents of Premier League quality every week in the Championship.”