From the publishers of THE HINDU

VOL.35 :: NO.02 :: Jan. 12, 2012

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FOOTBALL / STARWATCH

Making a name for himself

Jordi Gomez, 27, has become a real fans' favourite at the DW Stadium and his popularity has grown considerably of late, with the midfielder scoring four goals in his last six games.

Jordi Gomez is by no means the most high profile Spanish player in the Barclays English Premier League but he is certainly making a name for himself at Wigan.

Gomez, 27, has become a real fans' favourite at the DW Stadium and his popularity has grown considerably of late, with the midfielder scoring four goals in his last six games.

After holding his nerve to slot home the winner from the penalty spot at West Brom, Gomez struck late on against Chelsea to earn the resurgent Latics a priceless point.

Wigan had been written off as almost certainties for relegation until recently, but they have turned the corner and Gomez has made a big contribution.

It is not only his goals that have been so important; Gomez possesses the flair and technical ability that we have come to expect from Spanish players.

Chelsea's summer signing Juan Mata and Manchester City playmaker David Silva are certainly more illustrious, but Wigan boss Roberto Martinez believes there are similarities between the Spain duo and his tricky midfielder.

“Jordi has been working hard in training and has had to endure adversity more than any other player,” Martinez told his club's official website, www.wiganlatics.co.uk.

“Technically he is very gifted, in the mould of Juan Mata or David Silva, and it took our fans a bit of time to understand his game, but now I think you can see that understanding. The crowd made him feel well, and when you feel loved you can allow your football to talk and that's what he is doing. It makes a big difference as a foreign player when you come in and you have that bond with the crowd, and that's what Jordi has.”

Barcelona-born Gomez has had to bide his time before getting his chance to play at the highest level. After coming through Barcelona's youth team, the midfielder moved to Barca's city rivals Espanyol and scored 10 goals in 32 appearances for the club's B team.

Gomez managed just three first-team appearances in the Primera Division before being loaned to Swansea, who were then in the Championship, in the summer of 2008.

The skilful Spaniard endeared himself to Swans fans by scoring the winner in the Welsh derby against Cardiff and went on to net 12 times in an impressive debut season for the Welsh club.

Gomez returned to his homeland at the end of his loan spell but not for long, with Wigan offering him the chance to test himself in the EPL. He agreed to join the Latics in July 2009 for a fee of GBP1.7 million and was re-united with compatriot Martinez, who had also left Swansea that summer to take the reins at the Lancashire club.

Gomez was in and out of the team in his first season in the EPL, scoring just one goal, and he found the back of the net just three times last season for Martinez's side.

But it has been a different story this season, with Gomez becoming a key player and scoring some important goals in Wigan's battle to avoid the drop.

Gomez may not reach the heights that Mata and Silva do, but if he maintains his current form Wigan may struggle to keep hold of him.

© PA Sport, 2012, All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, re-written, re-distributed or commercially exploited. Sportstar is not responsible for any inaccuracy in the material.



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