Sport : Football

Martinez tipped for the top

13th November 2012, 02:49pm

Wigan chairman Dave Whelan believes manager Roberto Martinez is destined for the top of European football.

Martinez takes Wigan to Liverpool in the Barclays Premier League this weekend for the first time since rejecting the opportunity to take the reins at Anfield this summer.

Consequently, Brendan Rodgers left Martinez's former employers Swansea to succeed Kenny Dalglish and the Reds lie 13th in the table ahead of the Anfield clash - one point and one place above Latics.

Throughout the negotiation process, where Martinez broke off his close-season holiday to hold talks with Liverpool's owners in Miami, Whelan stated the 38-year-old was destined for the pinnacle of the game and that position has not changed.

He said: "Roberto will be the manager of one of the top three clubs in Europe, I don't think there's any doubt about that."

Whelan was speaking at the North West Football Awards where he was honoured with a lifetime achievement award in recognition of his achievements with Wigan, who he took control of when they were struggling in the fourth tier of English football.

The 75-year-old's close personal relationship with Martinez is seen as a key factor in the Spaniard's decision to remain at the DW Stadium, but Whelan also identified the decision to sign him as a player along with compatriots Jesus Seba and Isidro Diaz after becoming chairman in 1995 as a decisive moment in Wigan's history.

"We have a very, very good working relationship, Roberto and myself," he said. I signed him from Spain and he played for Wigan Athletic with the other two boys - the Three Amigos they were called.

"That changed our future because Wigan Athletic then became a team with people playing from Spain who played football from back to front.

"It changed our style and changed the life of Wigan Athletic when I signed those three boys."

Martinez has stuck diligently to such footballing principles during two improbable escapes from relegation trouble over the past two seasons, winning no shortage of admirers in collecting vital wins over the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal.

Inconsistency continues to dog Wigan - Saturday's defeat to West Brom on the back of victory at Tottenham standing as the latest example - but Whelan has higher sights for the current campaign.

He added: "We have one aim - to finish in the top half of the league.

"We've had aims of staying in the Premier League. This season, we want to finish in the top half. That is what we're going to do."


Click here for completely free £10 bet with Sky Bet & £5 free every week


Football Videos

    Latest Sky Sports News HQ Report

    Latest Sky Sports News HQ Report

    30-October-2014

    The very latest news brought to you by the UK's leading sports channel; Sky Sports News.

    Dyche using winless run as motivation

    Dyche using winless run as motivation

    30-October-2014

    Sean Dyche isn’t concerned that Burnley are the only side in all four divisions still looking for a win and is instead using it as motivation heading into their game against Arsenal.

    Rodgers - No problem with Mario

    Rodgers - No problem with Mario

    30-October-2014

    Brendan Rodgers has laughed off Mario Balotelli's confrontation with Jonjo Shelvey in Tuesday's League Cup match against Swansea. The pair clashed shortly before Balotelli's equaliser on the way to Liverpool's 2-1 win.

    Hart calls for unity

    Hart calls for unity

    30-October-2014

    Joe Hart insists Manchester City will recover from their dip in form, if they trust in manager Manuel Pellegrini. The Champions haven't won any of their last 3 games and up next, it's the Manchester derby on Sunday.

    Sky Bet

      • Retrieving latest Sky Bet odds

    Facebook Favourites