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14 July 2017

Latics boss gives us a pre-season staff update, words on Christian Walton and talks about his excitement ahead of Friday night’s friendly with Liverpool FC.

  • Watch Paul Cook ahead of Latics’ pre-season friendly with Liverpool FC.
  • Cook excited to face the Reds and thinks it’s the perfect start for him and his players.
  • Cook on new signing Christian Walton: “He is an outstanding young goalkeeper.”

iFollow Latics caught up with manager Paul Cook ahead of Friday night’s pre-season friendly with Liverpool FC.

Watch the video above for FREE, with the text from the interview below.

Cook on settling in…

I have settled in great; it’s been a really good period for the staff and the players.

After the disappointment of relegation there was always going to be a little bit of a hangover but the lads have been excellent to date and a credit to themselves.

Cook on positive environment…

I think it’s huge in football clubs; if you get the environment correct then people feed off it – with the most important people being the players.

I think it’s important for football clubs to have that feel good factor; all good clubs - not just those that are successful all the time – have that.

It’s important when you look at the environment we have here, it’s important that the players respect the fact that one, they are here, and two, they are here to better themselves and improve as players.

Together, then, hopefully we can form a club that people want to play for and is successful.

Cook on pre-season work…

We are touching on the shape more now; we have a large squad and numbers-wise we are looking to bring in but we are looking to reduce the numbers as well.

The injuries from last year have carried over and that’s disappointing – it’s nobody’s fault, it’s part of football.

We have Will Grigg, Nick Powell, Chey Dunkley, Donervon Daniels, young Andy Kellett and one or two more out so we’re carrying a few injuries.

We are keeping everything ticking away and we haven’t done enough good work with regards to the team’s shape but daily the lads are getting to know us and we are getting to know them and hopefully as pre-season progresses, then people will see the improvement that is going to be required for next season.

Cook on Shaun MacDonald…

He’s a great lad, Shaun. He’d be a massive loss to any club, to lose a player like him to a nasty injury like it was.

He’s showing great signs in the gym, he’s very vocal in his support to everybody else when really, we should be vocal in our support to Shaun and hopefully we have him back sooner rather than later.

Cook on Liverpool…

It’s a great game; Anthony Barry on the coaching staff is a Liverpool fan like me, Leam Richardson is a Leeds fan, Andrew Procter is a Blackburn fan and Nick Meace is a Manchester United fan – but we don’t really talk much about that.

It’ll be a great day, it’ll be a great first game, couldn’t be against better opposition and we’re really looking forward to the game.

I would imagine it’ll be a little bit more than a good test! I am trying to promise people we’ll attack and play off the front foot but I am sure tomorrow night will push us to the limits.

We couldn’t have a better game to start our managerial career at the club; we’re all very excited, I am sure both sets of supporters will turn up in numbers and hopefully it will be a good game.

Cook on his staff…

I am delighted; when you leave clubs, there is always a disappointment from leaving and we left a fantastic club in Portsmouth.

I really wish them so much success in the future; the fans really deserve that.

For us it was about getting the right people coming up with us; Andrew, Nick, Leam and myself have come up and now we have been joined by Nick Colgan as a goalkeeping coach and Anthony Barry as first team coach and the staff here already, Peter Atherton and the rest of the lads.

Wigan Athletic is a fantastic football club, a strong club and hopefully now together we can work hard to deliver the success that the supporters, the players, us and the CEO and the Chairman want. Only through hard work and endeavour will we get it.

Cook on Peter Reid…

He’s great Peter, he’s been like a breath of fresh air. I met him at an LMA do at the end of the season and the only disappointing thing about him is that he is an Everton fan and a former Everton player – but we all have our problems.

He’s so infectious with his love for the game and just having him around the training ground has been fantastic for us all. Let’s just see where it goes; he’s enjoying it, we’re enjoying it and I am sure the club will only profit from him being around.

Cook on Christian Walton…

Christian is an outstanding young goalkeeper; he’s been out now and done a couple of loans at a few different clubs including Bury, Luton and Southend.

He’s nearly 22 now, he’s growing all the time and he’s a massive presence.

We’re hoping with Nick [Colgan] that will be a good little partnership and Wigan Athletic can be the benefactors of a young, talented goalkeeper coming to our club and hopefully being a stabilising factor in what we do.

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