Interview
News

AMBITIOUS shot-stopper Sam Tickle is hungry to help Wigan to win promotion to the Championship next season

Wigan Athletic's Sam Tickle aims for Championship promotion after a stellar season in League One. The 22-year-old keeper, with 18 clean sheets and a Player of the Year award, looks to continue his rise with the Latics.

Neil Goulding
Neil Goulding

Last Updated: 2024-05-22

Louis Hobbs

4 minutes read

Sam Tickle

The England Under-21 keeper played every League One game for the Latics this season in a ‘coming of age’ campaign.

And now the highly-rated 22-year-old, who kept an impressive 18 cleansheets across all competitions, is confident to taking the next step towards his dream of advancing his career to an even higher level.

“I probably made more saves than I wanted too (this season), but I suppose when you’re going into your debut season you just want to do as much as you can,” revealed Tickle, winner of the club’s Player of the Year award.

“I’ve loved this season, I’ve just been throwing myself about everywhere.

“Towards the end of last season I thought ‘I’ll have a chance here’ next season.

“At the start of pre-season I knew I had a right good chance of starting – and I’ve not looked back to be honest.

“I played all the league games and a few cup games – and I made my 50th appearance for the club, which was nice.

“This has been the first season since I was 16 that I’ve really played all the games, it’s been really enjoyable.

quote icon

I remember having a chat with my agent when I came back from loan (at Nantwich Town and Warrington Rylands) and I was thinking ‘I’m 21, nearly 22 and I’ve not played a full season in the league yet

Sam Tickle

Image Credits: Wigan Athletic

Image Credits: Wigan Athletic

"It was a bit of struggle, but then all of a sudden I got the chance – and that’s been it from there"

“I’ve loved it, I remember playing at Derby (County) on the first day of the season. You walk out in front of 30,000 people and you think to yourself ‘this is where I want to be’.

“It’s weird League One, you can go from playing in front of 30,000 people at Pride Park to playing at Fleetwood (Town) in midweek, in front of 5,000.”

Wigan had no fewer than eight seasons in the Premier League before relegation to the Championship at the end of 2012-13 season

In fact the club have had three promotions and four relegations in the last decade in a real rollercoaster of fortunes for the Lancashire club.

The Latics finished 12th this season in League One, but were frustrated to have not have at least reached the play-offs despite losing one of their last eight league games.

Manager – and former Wigan player - Shaun Maloney has steadied the ship during turbulent and testing times at the DW Stadium.
And academy graduate Tickle, who was surprisingly released by the club in 2018 and then who resigned in 2019, admits he owes a deft of gratitude to Maloney for giving him the platform to sign.

“The gaffer has shown me great backing, I do owe him a lot,” added Tickle, who also made his England Under-21 debut this season.

“He sort of just through me in at the deep end, which I think was the best way to do it.

“The gaffer wants to get promoted as quickly as possible, but the Championship is such a good league. But I’ve always wanted to play in front of big crowds.”

Neil Goulding
Neil GouldingSenior Sports Reporter

Neil has been a journalist for longer than he'd care to remember, having written for national newspapers and respected publications for over 25 years. For the last three years he has worked freelance for BBC Sport, working on the production desk as a sub-editor and also as a writer, covering a whole range of sports.