Robben comparisons and no gripes - how Hibs' Tom James is getting on at Wigan
Hibs full-back Tom James has seen last weekend’s wonder goal, scored in the latest round of FA Cup fixtures, likened to one of Arjen Robben’s efforts and the flattering tweet has been shared by his friend and former fate-mate Christian Doidge.
James, who joined League One side Wigan on a short-term loan deal in September, after dropping out of first team plans at Easter Road, has now scored two stunning goals for the Latics, with his first, a free-kick against Portsmouth, hailed as an early contender for goal of the season.
The latest effort came in the 34th minute of his side’s knockout match with Chorley and saw him advance high up the pitch. Taking possession wide on the right, he cut inside before unleashing an unstoppable, curling, left-foot shot into the net. It was enough to give his side a 2-0 advantage. But having been reduced to ten men, there was a second-half collapse as the non-league side overhauled them and dumped them out of the competition.
That did not stop the Emirates FA Cup twitter feed posting footage of his goal and conjuring up comparisons with efforts from the former Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich winger, scoring out the Dutch masters name above the video and placing James’ name and a tick alongside it.
Doidge retweeted and it was no doubt one of the subjects up for discussion when the pair caught up, with James revealing that he and his fellow Welshman still speak on a near-daily basis, despite the 24-year-old’s move south.
While Wigan’s form has been poor, failing to win any of their past nine matches, James has made a decent impression and has been a regular feature of the side. That vindicates his decision to make the loan swap.
Signed by Paul Heckingbottom, James’ opportunities became more limited with the arrival of new manager Jack Ross, who quickly brought in Paul McGinn to fill the right-back berth. The Scot’s high level of consistency made it impossible for James to regain possession of the shirt.
“I really enjoyed it when I was playing up at Hibs,” James said. “Things happen, opinions, change, so the fact I get to come to Wigan and play in an unbelievable stadium with great training facilities, I’m lucky to do that.
“At the start of the season I wasn’t really getting a look-in at Hibs. I wasn’t in the team or on the bench so I was always looking to get out so I could play again.”
But he has no gripes with the club.
“Before I came down the Hibs defence was unreal, I think it shows. Three players have got Scotland call-ups so it proves they are players that should be playing every week and fair play to them.”
And, while things have not panned out as he would have liked for him in Edinburgh, he says the form of a couple of his fellow Heckingbottom arrivals proves that the former boss got some signings right.
“Look at Christian Doidge, he’s flying. He’s probably one of the first names on the teamsheet and I still speak to him most days now.
“It’s not worked out quite as well for me but for players like Doidgey and Joe Newell, they are doing really well now.”