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