Gary Caldwell can’t wait to cut managerial teeth at Wigan

Gary Caldwell enjoyed a successful playing career at Hibs
Gary Caldwell enjoyed a successful playing career at Hibs
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Gary Caldwell has insisted he’ll thrive rather than buckle under the pressure of attempting to restore Wigan Athletic to their former glories.

Only two years after shocking Manchester City in the FA Cup final at Wembley, the Latics have not only relinquished their Premiership place, but find themselves facing a season in League One.

Former Hibs skipper Caldwell was the surprise choice to replace the sacked Malky Mackay as the club headed for another relegation, his own playing career having been brought to a premature end through injury.

But at only 33 he told the Evening News he’s ready to meet the challenge his step from the dressingroom to the manager’s office has brought head-on.

In La Manga, where he is preparing his players for the coming season alongside Hibs – the two clubs will meet in a bounce match tomorrow night – and Queen of the South, Caldwell admitted he was taken aback at landing the job and yet claimed he is ready.

He said: “I was always interested in coaching from early in my career and a manager was something I wanted to be. I didn’t think I would get the opportunity so young, but I’m really excited, looking forward to it and enjoying it.

“Opportunities come through different circumstances. I spoke to a lot of people when I knew I was struggling with injury about how do you get into coaching, into management and the best advice they gave me was to work as hard as you can to be ready because you never know when it’s going to be.

“Obviously you are not going to be prepared for it because of the size of the job, but I felt comfortable when I got the opportunity and I feel comfortable now doing it.

“I think I was lucky because I had been there five-and-a-half years. I knew the club inside out, I’d been captain during some of it’s greatest days, I’d seen how it had struggled since coming out of the Premier League and had my own idea of why that was.”

Hibs have obviously haven’t had their own troubles to seek, a fact of which Caldwell is well aware, pointing out that sometimes it can be difficult to arrest a downward spiral, both clubs now undergoing radical overhauls.

He said: “I think at any club when you make bad decisions and things don’t go right it snowballs, you lose confidence and you struggle.

“Football is difficult. You have to be at it every single day, every single game if you want to be successful and when things go wrong it can quickly get out of hand. That’s what happened to us and to Hibs as well.

“They struggled for six months and dropped out the league. Then you find it difficult to get back. We are at that stage now of rebuilding. We are hopefully as low as we can go and we can totally rebuild the club and come back stronger.”

In that regard, Caldwell, left, dismisses his age and revealed he’s actually relishing the pressures he’ll now face in the dug-out He said: “One thing I missed in the last part of two years when I never really played was pressure.

“When you are playing you probably think it’s the one thing you won’t miss, but I missed having the pressure on a Saturday to win games.

“I was obviously training, trying to get fit, which had it’s own ups and downs. I had the work with the academy which was great and I enjoyed it.

“But I never had anything at the end of the week that tested me that made me see all the work come together so that expectation of a game, that pressure I actually enjoy and I look forward to it.”