Roberto Martinez reckons form of Shaun Maloney key to Wigan's survival hopes
Roberto Martinez believes Shaun Maloney is fast developing into the talisman of his Wigan team.
Last Updated: 07/05/13 6:59pm
The Scotland international has finally settled at the DW Stadium after struggling with injuries following his arrival at the club.
Maloney's experience of playing in the UEFA Champions League with Celtic has been vital in helping Wigan reach the FA Cup final, where they play Manchester City on Saturday.
And Martinez is confident the 30-year-old can help the club escape the relegation zone.
"Shaun Maloney is a player who could have been born in any other country in terms of the technical ability and the quality he has," said Martinez.
"When he first joined us he took a little bit of a time to get used to the pace of the league but he's been magnificent and very consistent since he started playing regularly.
"I feel Shaun is a player who can play in any team. He has the quality of any other top player in that position.
"He is someone who can find space - he finds it so natural to turn - and players who can drive into space are a real strength to break things down.
"I would never be surprised if a club with more tradition and bigger power looks at him but that's a compliment to us.
"I don't want to see Shaun leaving because he's so instrumental to what we do. But it wouldn't surprise me because he is a top player and has been consistent for 18 months now."