Martinez - Maloney needed time

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Shaun Maloney: Helped Wigan's recent resurgence after forcing his way into the side

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Wigan manager Roberto Martinez insists in-form Shaun Maloney needed time to adapt after his summer switch from the SPL.

The Scotland forward has been one of the inspirations behind Wigan's recent resurgence and curled home the winner against Manchester United in midweek.

But prior to the trip to Norwich on 11th March, when he was introduced as a substitute, Maloney had been involved in only three Premier League games, all as a substitute, which in total amounted to just 34 minutes.

But Martinez has defended his decision not to play Maloney, insisting he lacked the required fitness to do himself justice in the Premier League following his £850,000 move from Celtic in August.

The Wigan boss also believes Maloney needed time to get used to the different demands of playing for the Latics compared to life at the top of the SPL.

Adaptation period

"There is a really strong adaptation period for certain players when they leave the Scottish Premier League and come to England," said Martinez.

"We worked really hard with him physically to reach the level we needed, then he had to find a partnership and position with our players.

"That takes time.

"Maybe you can move from Celtic to the Premier League. But not from Celtic to Wigan.

"With a club fighting for the title in Scotland you get a lot of possession and the main concentration is what to do with it. It is straightforward.

"In the Premier League physically, you need to find the right level, then you have to work out what you are doing off the ball and how you are going to defend. It is not easy."

Delighted

Martinez has hailed the impact Maloney has made since he forced his way into the side.

"It is not about the time Shaun has been away," said Martinez. "It is about the time he has been enjoying on the pitch.

"He had a massive impact against Norwich and since then he has shown he is a player who is capable of that little bit of magic that gives you results.

"He makes the fans enjoy their football, which is something they really appreciate and has shown a real freshness in producing the quality we always knew he had."