Hibs first-team coach John Doolan is convinced that new recruit Fraser Fyvie would have made a success of his time in England if Roberto Martinez had remained in charge at Wigan longer than he did.
Doolan was a coach at the Latics when Martinez shelled out around £500,000 to take the then-19-year-old midfielder south from Aberdeen in summer 2012. The Spaniard rated Fyvie highly and, despite his youthfulness, viewed him as a first-team squad member rather than a development player.
Although Martinez only gave the Scotland Under-21 internationalist one substitute outing in the Premier League, he used him regularly in the cup competitions and also had him on the bench for the 2013 FA Cup final triumph over Manchester City.
Fyvie’s hopes of more prominent involvement faded, however, when Martinez left for Everton that summer. “I felt sorry for Fraser because no sooner had he arrived than Roberto Martinez left to go to Everton,” says Doolan. “When Roberto brought him down, he looked a good prospect. He was athletic and box-to-box and looked like the next big player to come down from Scotland. He had a really good cup run at Wigan and played in a good few games the year they won it.
“But then Roberto left and Owen Coyle came in with his own ideas and brought in new midfielders, so Fraser struggled to break in. Then Uwe Rosler came in and I know that he didn’t see Fraser as part of his plans whatsoever.
“He would definitely have had more of a chance if Roberto had stayed. Some managers like to work with their own type of players and I think Fraser suffered because of that.”
Although predominantly deemed a first-team player at Wigan, Fyvie, pictured below, occasionally trained with Doolan’s under-21 side. “Whenever he trained with us in the 21s, he had a good attitude. I was impressed with him straight away. Technically he could handle the ball well. The potential was there for everyone to see and we saw a bit of it in the FA Cup run. Apart from the managers changing, I think he probably found it hard being down south, away from home at such a young age.”
Fyvie’s opinion of Hibs helped add to Doolan’s excitement when he learned he was heading north to team up with his childhood friend Alan Stubbs last summer. “I remember the day I left Wigan, when I told Rosler I was leaving, everybody was in shock, saying ‘what are you doing?’. But Fraser was one of the first ones I saw in the gym and shook my hand and said ‘it’s a massive club’. I remember him being really complimentary about Hibs.”
Doolan’s views on Fyvie helped persuade Stubbs to move for the midfielder when he was released by Wigan on Monday. “Ultimately, it was the manager’s decision to go for him, but we did speak about him and I only had good things to say about him,” he said. “He’s a good player who fits what we’re trying to do at Hibs. We’re building a young squad, but to be so young and have the experience he’s got, having come through the ranks at Aberdeen and played for Scotland Under-21s, is massive for us.”