Tarkowski signs pro deal

18-year old defender James Tarkowski has signed his first professional contract for the Latics and is surprised at the way his season has taken off. Just a year ago he had both legs in plaster after undergoing metatarsal surgery to both feet. The youngster finished the season as an established first teamer and after signing a two year deal he said, “It has been been a complete change after I had been injured for most of last season. Never for one moment did I think I would have played nine games for the first team. I thought I would see my mates breaking into the first team as I got over my injury problems. At the start of the season, I simply wanted to get back playing again for the youth team and then hopefully break into the reserves and have the chance to play against men and win a pro contract.”

“I was called into the squad for the game at Plymouth in mid-January. That was a surprise, but a nice surprise. Then the following week I made my debut coming on as a substitute for the home win against Brentford. It wasn't easy with the team struggling, but once we were safe it was a lot more relaxed. I think the reason why we won at Swindon was because the pressure had been removed. Reuben Hazell has played so many games against strikers that he knows all about tactics and he has been great passing on his knowledge. As for Jean-Yves M'vot, you know when you play alongside him that he is going to win everything in the air.”

“I was injured last pre-season so watched the first team and it was a lot more difficult than my first year with the youth team. There is a lot of running, which doesn't look nice as I am a central defender, though that is part of being a footballer.”