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21 February 2019

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Gary Roberts celebrates his goal against Blackburn Rovers in November 2018.

Gary Roberts delighted to agree a new deal, keeping him with Latics until 2020.

  • Gary Roberts agrees new Latics deal until 2020.
  • Forward delighted to secure his future at Wigan Athletic.
  • Roberts speaks about his contract for the first time on Latics Listen.

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It’s been another impressive season for the evergreen Gary Roberts, so much so that he was rewarded with a new contract earlier this week, keeping him at Latics until the summer of 2020.

Roberts, who signed from Portsmouth in Paul Cook’s first season in charge of Latics, has since become a thoroughly reliable member of the squad, with his quality shining through, particularly with his goals against Blackburn Rovers and Aston Villa in victories at the DW Stadium this term.

Speaking about his new contract on the latest episode of our podcast, Latics Listen, Roberts said:

“It’s great news to know that I’m going to be here for another year, it’s big for me and my family to know my future is secure and it all happened pretty quickly.

“I’m delighted to stay around this group of players because we’re all really close and the staff have been great with me, so I’m happy to be here.

“There’s a lot of respect between me and the gaffer. There’s having trust in someone, but if you’re not performing then there’s no point being here. I feel like I’ve backed it up by performing and helping the team, and it’s nice to know he still rates me as a player. The big thing for me is helping the lads. I’ve carried on playing this season a bit more than most people expected, but that’s what’s led to a new deal.”

The manager has often joked about Roberts’ extended playing time and how much he expected the 34-year-old to feature this season, but the forward said he was inclined to agree.

“He’s cheeky isn’t he!? No, in all seriousness he’s just saying what most people probably think. Nobody expected me to play as many minutes as I have because I’ve now played more this season than I did last season.

“All I can do is make the decision hard for the gaffer. Now that everyone is back fit, I probably won’t be expected to be seen as much, but I still want to play and train every day to push the lads in front of me.

“I’m proud to be playing in the Championship at my age. I’m still fit and still performing. I’ve got the drive to play every minute of every game. The day you lose that fight to try and get into the team you might as well pack your bags and leave, especially at the club like this striving forward and getting stronger and stronger.

“To be a part of the group, even though we’re not higher up the table like I have been during my career, the changing room is incredibly strong.”

Despite Latics having a weekend without a Sky Bet Championship fixture due to Derby County’s involvement in the Emirates FA Cup, Roberts still managed to find himself on the score sheet in a 4-3 win against Shanghai SIPG during Latics’ trip to Dubai, with a goal he’s been told was world class, although he says he was more interested in a recovery run back to the restart.

“I haven’t seen it back yet, but when we came off the pitch, Clarkey said it’s the best goal he’s ever seen live.

“At the time I didn’t really think about it because I was so focused on getting back to the half way line, it was just so hot out there.

“We played against some world class players like Hulk and Oscar and obviously Shanghai are the champions in China. It was always going to be a tough game, but we played really well and we controlled it for the majority.

“The trip we had was great for us. We’re such a tight knit group, but it was important for us to have time with the new lads where we could train hard during the day, but bond by being in each other’s pockets every day.

“We’ve returned to Wigan even closer, everyone is laughing and joking. It was hard work in the heat, but I think it will do us good over the next couple of weeks.”

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