CALLUM McManaman is a certain starter for Pool at Southampton – but he won’t be at Bloomfield Road long.
The on-loan 20-year-old is definitely heading back to Wigan in the new year, with Roberto Martinez raving about his player’s performances in a Blackpool shirt.
McManaman bagged his first ever league goal to sink Reading. Martinez had a scout at the game and watched it on DVD – and there is no doubt he is liking what he sees.
“It’s been great to see Callum enjoying his football and growing while at Blackpool,” the Wigan boss said.
“It was important for him to get regular minutes under his belt and we’ve all been admiring his progress from a distance.
“He’ll be returning to our club as a more mature and confident player, ready to fight for his place in the first team.
“And we’re all looking forward to seeing him back here in the first week of January.
“His time with Blackpool has been exactly what he needed at this stage of his career – and his goal against Reading was a great example of his footballing arrogance and belief as a player.
“I’m delighted Callum’s been able to show his undoubted ability, and challenge for his place in a great competition like the Championship.
“His quality has really come to the fore – and that was the whole reason for the exercise.”
McManaman will return to the DW Stadium in the first week of 2012 and is expected to start Wigan’s FA Cup third-round tie at Swindon.
That means the winger has four games left with Blackpool – at home to Watford, and away at Southampton, Barnsley and Birmingham.
“I’ve loved every minute of my time at the club,” said McManaman. “I just hope to spend as much time on the pitch as possible between now and when I go back.”