Monday, January 23, 2006
Ziegler swaps Hamburg loan for Wigan Athletic
Reto Ziegler is hoping to use a loan move to Wigan as a springboard to playing in this summer's World Cup finals.
Latics manager Paul Jewell beat off interest from a number of clubs to snap up
Ziegler after he recently returned to Spurs following a spell on loan with
Bundesliga side SV Hamburg.
Tottenham were unhappy with the lack of playing time Hamburg coach Thomas Doll
was giving Ziegler, with the Switzerland international making just eight
substitute appearances- totalling 137 minutes - in just under five months.
In joining Wigan, Ziegler - who celebrated his 20th birthday a week ago -
could be pitched straight into tomorrow night's second leg of the club's Carling
Cup semi-final with Arsenal at Highbury, with the Latics holding a 1-0 lead.
Jewell is without a left winger as Lee McCulloch undergoes a groin operation
tomorrow, while another new recruit in David Thompson is ineligible after
covering the role, and scoring on his debut, in a 3-2 win at Middlesbrough on
As a natural left-sided player, Ziegler fits the bill perfectly, and is
undaunted by the fact he could be thrown in at the deep end as Wigan look to
reach the first major final in the club's history.
'I don't think anyone needs motivation to face Arsenal, and I don't think the
Tottenham link makes things any different for me as far as I'm concerned,' said
'Arsenal are one of the best teams in Europe, and to face them in a
semi-final going into the game with a 1-0 lead, is enough incentive.
'It is a big game to come into, but to be able to play a role in getting the
club to its first major final would be great.
'We are a young team full of energy and hunger. There is absolutely no fear
in the dressing room, and a feeling we can win every game.'
Although Ziegler has a new cause to fight for, on a personal level, the World
Cup is on the horizon and he is determined to force his way into coach Kobi
'I hope to be able to get as many games under my belt as possible because it
is my dream to play in the World Cup for Switzerland,' added Ziegler, who has
made three appearances for his country.
'I know if I have a good run between now and May, then of course it will help
'For a young player like me in a World Cup year, I am just anxious to play
and to show everyone, the Wigan fans, the Wigan manager and the Switzerland
manager Kobi Kuhn, what I can do.
'But at the moment my number one priority is to play well for Wigan, starting
against Arsenal if I'm selected.'
Ziegler, though, has a lot to live up to as Jewell's three other new signings
this month in Thompson, Neil Mellor and Paul Scharner have all scored on their
'It's amazing they've all done that,' said Jewell. 'But he gives us decent cover. He is very good technically and he can play left back or left side of midfield.
'That's important for us. Lee McCulloch has done a wonderful job for us, but
sometimes we lack balance without a natural left-footer.
'Hopefully, Reto can give us that and give us good competition for places at
left back as well.'