Latics’ longest serving outfield player shares his thoughts on Paraguayan’s return.
There were many positives that came from the weekend’s 3-0 victory over Reading at the Madejski Stadium, and with seven minutes remaining in the match Latics were handed another moment to savour as Antolin Alcaraz made his first appearance since the 4-1 Capital One Cup win against Nottingham Forest at the end of August 2012.
Team mate Emmerson Boyce was delighted to see the Paraguayan defender back on the pitch after nearly six months out with a groin injury.
The 33-year-old said:
“We’ve more or less got a full squad now and it was great to see Antolin return.
“For the squad it is the perfect time to have Antolin back because we need to have options going into this busy period of games.
“He’s a great player and showed just how good he was all of last season.”
Boyce also said that Alcaraz’s return will be a major boost to the desire of the team.
“We’ve got 11 games in the league left and the cup game so the more players that are fit the better.
“It’s up to everyone to earn the right to wear the shirt and the more quality players we have back fit, the harder we will push each other and in turn it will further improve the level of performance from everybody.
“It gives us good competition and brilliant strength in depth.”
Boyce himself was substituted for Alcaraz against Reading after making his own return to the team following an injury picked up against Stoke City at the end of January.
The right wing back was delighted to play his part and commented on his enjoyment of his current role in the team.
“The license the manager gives me to get up the pitch makes me feel free because I enjoy having the chance to get forward and play in the final third.
“It’s a good mix of being offensive and knowing your position when defending.
“I’m playing the most attacking football of my career and I’m enjoying every minute of it.”