Ben Watson plays tribute to 200th start for skipper Emmerson Boyce.
Both Ben Watson and stalwart defender Emmerson Boyce have worn the captain’s armband this season on a number of occasions, but in yesterday’s 1-0 victory away at Yeovil Town, Boyce had that honour on what was his 200th league start for Wigan Athletic.
Watson was full of praise for his captain and long-time friend, saying:
“You know what you’re going to get with Boycey.
“Every time he puts the shirt on you know he’s going to lead by example and provide you with inspiration.
“I’ve known Boycey for 10 years now and played alongside him countless times, it’s been a pleasure to do that and for him to have made 200 league starts for this club is a brilliant achievement.
“Knowing Boycey, I would imagine there will be many more games to add to that tally.”
Watson himself admitted he only just made himself available for yesterday’s game, after shrugging off an illness which kept him out of Thursday’s Europa League game against Rubin Kazan.
“I’ve been struggling to eat for the last few days and I’ve been quite sick,” said the 28-year-old.
“It wasn’t a nice few days for me because I just lacked energy, but I got a lot of rest to make sure I was ready for Yeovil.
“It was disappointing to miss the Rubin Kazan game, but I’m happy I got to be back on the pitch against Yeovil and to add to that we got the three points.”
Yeovil’s all action start to yesterday’s clash at Huish Park was something that didn’t surprise Watson, and he was impressed by the way Latics handled the Glovers’ early threat.
“The game was very tough for us having only arrived back in England in the early hours of Friday morning.
“I was impressed by them in the first half because they came at us with real intent, but I think we began to take control in the second half.
“We knew that if we could ride the initial spell of pressure that we’d be able to open them up and start creating chances.
“There was a feeling among us that we’d come good in the second half and true to that feeling we did.”
Latics hadn’t scored a goal away from the DW Stadium since the first game of the season when Shaun Maloney netted the fourth in the 4-0 victory over Barnsley at Oakwell, so Marc-Antoine Fortune’s winner yesterday was a relief to Watson.
“We created chances, we had four or five cleared off the line, we hit the cross bar and we had some other half chances so it was a relief when Marco (Fortune) scored the goal, our first one away from home in a long time.
“It’s a great ball across the box and Marco takes it really well at the back post, it was a big moment for us and somewhat a relief after our luck on the road in recent games.”
Pleased with the last six days, Europa League included, Watson added:
“In Kazan we probably should have brought at least a point back, but we’re still in a strong position in the Europa League, and now we’ve put ourselves in a much stronger Championship position too.
“Being away together for so many days has been really good for us.
“We knew it was going to be a long few days, but the team spirit is brilliant and we all get on so it made for a good, long weekend.”
Despite being given a few days rest falling the arduous fixtures list, Watson remained focus on the task awaiting Latics after the international break, and said the team want to reverse their fortunes following these periods.
“Some of the boys are going to go away internationally now and the rest of us will have a couple of days off before we begin focussing on the next game in the league against Brighton.
“It’s been really important that we’ve won every game going into an international break so far this season, but on the other hand we’ve lost both times after the breaks.
“That’s something that really needs addressing, but we’re at home in our next game unlike the two away games earlier in the season.
“Our home form is excellent this season and we’ve got to make sure that continues.”