Martinez - Baines proves point
Roberto Martinez feels survival would allow Wigan to develop more players such as Leighton Baines.
Last Updated: 29/04/11 1:57pm
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez feels that survival in the Premier League would allow them to develop more quality players such as Leighton Baines.
Wigan face Everton as they continue their battle against the drop at the DW Stadium on Saturday, with former star pupil Baines returning to the club where he made his name.
The England left-back has gone on to become their most successful youth product since making his debut for the Latics in 2002.
His career has gone from strength to strength ever since, departing for Goodison Park in a £6million deal in 2007, going on to win full international honours and enjoying an outstanding season this term.
Martinez was full of praise for the defender, and highlighted his development as an example to the kind of players his team must produce in the future.
"We have always been very proud of Leighton. He has always been a diamond produced in our ranks," he said.
"It has been a little bit disappointing we haven't promoted more youngsters since Leighton left.
"When he played for England it was a very proud day for many people at Wigan Athletic and we wish Leighton the very best of luck after Saturday.
"If we could be successful and achieve our aim this season that would allow us to kick on as a football club.
"The playing staff is so young I feel we would really get the full potential from the group of players we have got.
"We have so much to gain rather than a lot to lose and that is the exciting aspect of our battle."
Martinez also has high hopes for youngster Callum McManaman, who signed a two-year deal on Friday and became the first fully-developed youngster by the club to play since Baines' advancement.
Martinez said: "It is a fantastic story to have another youngster coming through the ranks.
"We want to carry on producing good young, local talent that can look up to the level Leighton Baines has achieved."
Baines and his side could have a big say in his former club's destination next season, with another defeat giving them a mountain to climb in the battle against the drop.
But Martinez was defiant that they could save themselves and did not need to resort to desperate measures.
"There is nothing different for us, it is not all of a sudden that we see ourselves in this situation," Martinez added.
"We have been dealing with this situation for the last six months.
"From our point of view, nothing changes. We have found a very good level of performance in the last 10 games and we need to carry on with that until the last day of the campaign.
"The points tally we thought was going to be needed has probably dropped slightly but I still think you will need around 40 points.
"That will be affected by the results of the teams that are going to play against each other in the last four games but I don't think you can look further than the next game.
"For us it is the most important fixture of the season and that is the way we have to treat it."