Defender says signing for Latics was always a priority over the summer as he gets ready for pre-season.
- “I thoroughly enjoyed my time here last season” – Warnock.
- Experienced defender feels a positive approach will help Latics succeed in the Championship.
- 34-year-old also excited by prospect of facing former club Liverpool in pre-season.
Wigan Athletic’s first official signing of the 2016-17 campaign Stephen Warnock admits it was a simple decision for him to make when deciding his future following the expiration of his contract at Derby County.
The former England international made 11 appearances at the end of last season and made a fine contribution as Gary Caldwell’s side secured the Sky Bet League One title.
And he said he felt it was essential to sign his one-year deal at the DW Stadium as soon as he could.
“You want to get things done and dusted and hit the ground running so you can get back into pre-season at the same time as the other lads,” Warnock said. “I enjoyed my time here thoroughly last season and it was an easy decision to make.
“One of the reasons I came here in the first place was the fact that the manager and chairman were so determined to get into the Championship. I felt the squad was more than capable having watched them and my decision was vindicated.”
Having played in the Championship last season for Derby County, Warnock is fully aware of the task Caldwell and his side face this coming campaign, though he is backing Latics’ squad to cope with the demands.
“I think the standard of football is a notch up, the level of finishing is higher and you find yourselves getting punished a lot more,” he explained. “Every step up brings something different but the thing about this squad is that it’s more than capable of competing in the Championship and that’s the exciting part.“It’s one of the most competitive leagues in the world now and I think people are starting to watch it more and more.
“There is still a gulf between the Championship and the Premier League but the standard in the Championship has gone up and people are enjoying watching the games.
“There are some massive teams in there and there are definitely scalps to be had.”
And Warnock, who will come up against former clubs in Aston Villa, Leeds United, Blackburn Rovers and Derby next season, says positivity will be the key for another successful season for Latics.
“You’ve always got to be positive,” Warnock continued. “People go in with the mentality of just surviving or having a points target to reach but for me you just have to try and win every game, be ambitious and be the best and that’s what I have always wanted to be.
“I think the lads in the dressing room are the same and I know the manager and chairman are like that as well.”
Warnock’s first club and the team with which he made his name, Liverpool, will visit the DW in pre-season and the defender, who played over 60 times for the Reds, is excited by the prospect of coming up against Jurgen Klopp’s side.
“It’s great [to play Liverpool in pre-season]; we’ve been talking about how many tickets have been sold already in the Liverpool end and I think it’ll be more or less a sell out for them,” Warnock added.
“It’s great to have them here, to come up against a team of that calibre and for a lot of the lads it’s a chance to prove what they can do and compete against the best.”