Celtic supporter sheds light on Thomas Rogne, Wigan’s new signing

2013-rogne

In light of the much-needed flurry of transfer activity Owen Coyle has orchestrated in recent days, we thought we’d re-visit a special feature approach and ask more informed writers about who exactly the club is signing.

Twenty-three year-old Norweigan centre-back Thomas Rogne became the third free transfer in less than a week to join the club after some promising, but injury-strewn years at Celtic. He joins former teammates Shaun Maloney and Gary Caldwell in the Wigan locker room and has hopefully spent enough time in Scotland to understand what James McArthur, Stephen Crainey are on about as well.

In an effort to learn more about his Celtic years and the circumstances under which he is joining our club, we reached out to the writers of Celtic  blog, Lost Bhoys, who helped us with a similar request when Shaun Maloney signed for us two years ago. Their take on the little Scot has proven thoroughly accurate — if he could regain fitness and sharpness, they wrote, he would go on to be a hit. After a six to eight month period of adaptation and fitness work in his first season, Maloney’s impact has been spectacular. Lets hope the arrival of another ex-Celtic player can help keep him at the club.

Without further ado, here is Liam Power, aka Brummie Bhoy of Lost Bhoys, dishing on our new centre-back Thomas Rogne:

Hail Hail to Ned and all the Wigan supporters who Los Three Amigos website. Ned had asked David Harper to produce a piece on Thomas Rogne after he did something similar when Shaun Maloney joined Wigan back in August 2011. Unfortunately, Harper was unavailable so he asked me if I would pick this up which I was more than happy to do.

I think it is reasonable to say that Wigan were not one of the more glamorous Premiership clubs during their spell in the top league so they would generally slip under the radar of most Celtic fans. However, this changed in recent years as we have seen a number of ex Celts and SPL players move to the club under the tenure of Roberto Martinez.

My former boss is a Wigan season ticket holder so we have had many amusing conversations over the last few seasons when discussing the contribution of Gary Caldwell and more serious chats about the continued development of Maloney, McArthur and McCarthy as they become integral to the Wigan team in the last season, culminating in your magnificent FA Cup victory.

Wigan now also has lifelong Celtic supporter Owen Coyle in charge and have just acquired the services of Celtic’s out of contract defender Thomas Rogne.  As a season ticket holder for most of the last 9 seasons and as a weekly blogger for the LostBhoys on www.hailhailmedia.com I can provide an insight into Rogne’s time at Celtic, what sort of player he is and what you can expect from him in the seasons ahead.

Rogne turned 23 last week but still features regularly for the Norway under-21 team despite being capped at full International level. He joined Celtic as a 19 year old on the 20th January 2010 and was described by former Celtic favourite Vidar Riseth as the hottest young talent in Norway.

Rogne was signed by Tony Mowbray whose single season in charge at Parkhead can most politely be described as a disaster, culminating in a 4-0 defeat to St Mirren that signalled the end of his reign. Rogne only managed 4 appearances during the second half of season 2009/10 but would have been encouraged by the appointment of Neil Lennon who has always been happy to give young players opportunities within the team.

Rogne didn’t start a game in the following season until 30th October 2010 as an injury interrupted pre-season prevented him from establishing himself in the manager’s plans. However, he then featured 15 times in the following three months, including an outstanding performance at Ibrox in a 2-0 win over our former rivals.

Further injuries took him out of the team and he only featured intermittently during the rest of the season. This was to become the story of his time at Celtic as he could rarely muster a run of games in the team without picking up knocks that would require spells on the sidelines. As an 18 year old Rogne damaged his cruciate ligaments and missed the entire 2008/09 season, which may explain his continual injury problems.

The following season 2011/12 saw a depressingly similar pattern as injury disrupted his pre-season and he didn’t make his first start until 26th October 2011. He played 3 times before injury sidelined him again but once back in the team in December Rogne managed to establish himself and struck up a good partnership with Scottish Player of the season Charlie Mulgrew.

He featured in 17 league games during the remainder of the season and was considered as a first choice pick for the first time in his Celtic career, keeping out new signing Kelvin Wilson who had experienced a difficult start to his Celtic career.

This should have signalled better times for Rogne at Celtic but the signing of Efe Ambrose and the re-birth of Kelvin Wilson produced a solid partnership that was not going to be split up. This partnership, added to more niggling injuries for the player meant that he had drifted out of the first team picture.

He only made 8 league starts last season, a situation that was not helped with his ongoing contract dispute with the club. Rogne was looking for a deal that would put him in with the high earners at the club but he had done nothing during his 4 seasons to justify such a position.

The club expressed their desire to keep him but no compromise could be reached so the player allowed his contract to expire and today he becomes a free agent meaning that Wigan will not have to pay any compensation to Celtic.

There is no doubting the ability of Rogne as a footballer. He is a tall player who enjoys doing the basics of good defending.   He is good in the air and reads the game well which enables him to win a fair amount of challenges staying on his feet without over committing himself.

He has reasonable pace and his positional sense is good although he can suffer from lapses in concentration. He is not a ball playing defender and is happy winning possession and giving the ball to his more talented colleagues.

What he desperately needs is a run of 20-30 games in a side without injury so that he can establish himself as a first choice. He is easily good enough to play in the Championship but needs to contribute much more in terms of appearances. As a free transfer on relatively modest wages he fits the bill for Wigan’s transfer policy and would be deemed as a low risk signing.

Wigan have the best chance of promotion from all the three clubs who were relegated as they should manage to retain a decent nucleus of last seasons squad, unlike QPR who have huge financial implications to deal with.

Providing he can stay fit then Rogne will be a good addition to the squad and should be a success at Wigan. He is familiar with British football and knows Caldwell and Maloney well from his time at Celtic, so his transition to Wigan should be relatively straight forward.

Good luck to you for the forthcoming season and I will definitely continue to keep an eye on our former bhoys

Hail Hail

Brummie Bhoy

Celtic supporter dishes on new Latics signing Shaun Maloney

Few people are better positioned to provide insight on new Wiganer Shaun Maloney than David Harper, of Celtic fansite Lost Bhoys. The little winger spent the better part of 10 years wearing hoops over two separate stints. What you are about to read is Harper’s assessment of Maloney — his two spells at Celtic, his playing style and attitude, and his chances of success with Wigan. David has also kindly agreed to answer questions about Maloney in the comments section below this story, so please do take him up on the offer!

Shaun Maloney aka Bupa

Howdy Wiganites, sorry I have no idea what you call someone from Wigan please excuse my ignorance. Ned asked me to put together a small piece about former Bhoy and new Latic Shaun Maloney. Iʼm a regular blogger and editor on http://www.LostBhoys.com and co-host of the weekly HomeBhoys Celtic fans phone-in show. I started following Celtic home and away from the age of 14 in 1987 so Iʼm pretty well placed to give you a brief rundown on the last of the Seville team to leave Celtic (management team excluded).

Shaun broke into the 1st team in 2001 and if I recall correctly he made his debut at Ibrox against ʻthemʼ. Originally he was deployed as an out and out striker and for the next couple of seasons mostly made appearances from the substitutes bench. It wasnʼt until Gordon Strachan took over the reigns that Shaun found his best position as an attacking left-midfielder which is still his natural position to this day.

Thatʼs when heʼs fit of course and those occasions have been few and far between in his second spell at the club. Heʼs a player that has divided fans ever since his return up north from Aston Villa. Many many fans myself included didnʼt think Maloney should be afforded a return to Celtic after the way we felt he had let us done badly when he left for Villa Park.

Shaun had suffered a serious cruciate ligament injury and despite the fact nobody was sure if he would return the same player Gordon Strachan fought to get the board to offer him a new contract. Celtic were very good to Shaun in this time and when he came back from injury he had his best spell winning both Scottish footballs player and young player of the year.

The disharmony came to be when Shaun played hardball over a new contract and eventually left under a cloud for Martin OʼNeillʼs Villains. Personally I think Maloney was due us a bit more loyalty considering we had taken a chance on him while injured and this was the reason many eyebrows were raised upon his ʻgloriousʼ return. His second spell has been a disaster for the player and a quick check shows he only played 55 games in the last 3 years. Maloney is constantly injured. Iʼll be absolutely astonished if he plays 20 games this season. Actually whenever I hear his name David Bowie singing China Doll creeps into my head. It would seem his hamstring is made of glass.

On his game heʼs a fantastic player who loves to drift in from the left onto his right foot and has a good eye for goal. He certainly isnʼt an out and out winger and isnʼt the kind of guy who will hit the byeline but rather step inside and play neat one-twoʼs around the box. Heʼs often been described as a buzzbomb as he is very busy but heʼs lost a bit of the pace he had when he was younger. Heʼs by no means a slouch though. Ned asked me if heʼs the kind of guy that will get stuck in. Flying into tackles no but heʼll certainly track back and has a good engine to get up and down the flank. I would say one of his biggest assets is heʼs a very intelligent player and reads the game extremely well.

There is no doubt in my mind if he can stay fit and if this is the position Wigan are looking to fill heʼll be a great signing but again I canʼt stress enough his fitness is a major problem.

There is also a myth surrounding him being a dead ball specialist. In his first spell he was quite prolific with free-kicks but this ability seems to have alluded him on his return. Frustratingly his seniority in the team (was stand in captain for a period) often seen him push better candidates to the side before he sailed one harmlessly over the bar. Most notably when Nakamura was in the side who was a real free-kick expert.

You may think reading this that Iʼm being overly harsh and my opinion has been tainted from my disdain at him letting us down. Believe me itʼs not Iʼm being as honest as I can. I think youʼll find most fans have actually forgiven him his sins but at the same time everyone knew it was time for him to move on. Money is tight in the Scottish game and Maloney being one of the larger earners at the club who spent the majority of his time in the physio room was a pay packet that could be better utilised. In saying that heʼs fit and raring to go at the minute so weʼll see how he goes.

Iʼm not sorry to see Shaun go but I wish him the very best of luck in the rest of his career. Heʼs a pretty laid back guy with no billy big boots airs or graces about him and I pray he can get a real run of games under his belt for you. Iʼll watch his career now from afar with interest.

I hope this has been a decent insight into what you have bought and hope I havenʼt panicked you too much with the injury woeʼs. If anyone would like any further info I can be contacted at LostBhoys@gmail.com.

Iʼd like to wish Wigan and Maloney all the best for the season ahead, most sincerely.

Hail Hail

David Harper

http://www.LostBhoys.com

The lowdown on Wigan’s new signing, Shaun Maloney

Wigan has agreed a 1 million pound fee for the transfer of Celtic winger Shaun Maloney, who spent a season and a half at Aston Villa under Martin O’Neill before returning to Glasgow. He’s had his share of injury problems but is a skillful, right-footed winger who should suit the Martinez style of play. Roberto calls him “magical.” He’s also a dead ball specialist, scoring numerous free-kicks during his time at Celtic. At a million pounds, you can’t go far wrong for a really talented player about to hit the peak of his career at 28.

Below are some comments from Celtic supporters upon hearing the news that Celtic and Wigan had agreed a fee:

“He was a great little talent and I thought he could take the mantle from Moravcik. However, injuries and playing in industrious sides that didn’t suit his play has resulted in a rather unfulfilled career. I don’t know what was more badly advised – his move to Villa or us buying him back. However, I won’t forget the season when he won his awards, linked up beautifully with Nakamura and swept us to the title. Good luck wee man…”

“With regards to the national team, hopefully Shaun Maloney gets a regular game for Wigan. When he’s fit and in the mood he can be a game changer…”

“I really rated Maloney, when fit I always said a better player than McGeady, but that’s at least two years now he’s struggled with injury.”

And this very impressive YouTube compilation: