Woeful Wigan – is Martinez too young?

Posted on August 28, 2010


By Tim Harris

EMBARRASSING defeats for Wigan Athletic in their opening fixtures has provoked the searching question: is Roberto Martinez too undeveloped to manage at the top level?

Roberto Martinez faces severe scrutiny if Wigan don't drastically improve their form

At 37, Martinez is the youngest manager in the Premier League, and following Wigan’s shambolic early displays, questions will be asked about Martinez’s slender managerial experience.

The Latics were thumped on home soil in their first two games of the season, consigning them the to bottom of the table, with a goal difference of -10.

Many raved about Blackpool’s ferocious 4-0 start to the league, but without taking any credit away from the tangerines, Wigan’s pitiful defending was largely responsible for the towering score-line.

And only his second year in charge at the DW Stadium, it could already be speculated that Roberto Martinez lacks the necessary wisdom and understanding to manage at such a high standard of football.

The Spaniard concluded his playing career only three years ago in 2007 at Chester City.  And the following season, Martinez took up the reins at Swansea City – a club where he spent a significant time as a player.

Martinez was a popular man at the South Wales club, and after just two seasons, he claimed the League One trophy for the Swans, and secured promotion to The Championship.

Martinez and Swansea City - crowned League One Champions in 2009

Such obvious talent in the lower leagues was swiftly noted, and Martinez received the call-up to manage Wigan in the big-time.  A murmur of disgruntlement swept Swansea.

The 37-year-old’s first season in the top flight was not a comfortable one.  A barrage of poor results saw Wigan only narrowly avoid the drop; just several points keeping them up.
Nonetheless, with all said and done, Martinez prevented relegation for the Latics; and Athletic remained a Premiership club for another season.

However, the Wigan boss is already the bookies’ favourite to win this season’s ‘sack race’ in the Premier League, following such a dismal start.

Unfortunately, questions about his youthful age and managerial inexperience are unavoidable prospects to consider.

The Balaguer born manager is in desperate need of a miracle from his team to silence his critics.  And with a Wigan win an absolute minimum in this afternoon’s fixture, what better place to visit than White Hart Lane.

Martinez has been insistent that his club’s current league position does not worry him.  “It’s not time to look at the table.  It’s a tough start; we’re going to learn from it.”
The manager had better hope the Wigan players are fast learners.

Despite Roberto Martinez being nearly half Alex Ferguson’s age in years, it would be wrong to insinuate that all young managers are doomed to certain failure in the Premier League.
After all, Gareth Southgate was the league’s youngest manager when he took command of Middlesborough, and that turned out ok didn’t it?