Football Features

Where are they now? The Wigan team that played Europa League football while in the Championship

By Harry Edwards

Published: 11:24, 20 April 2020 | Updated: 10:00, 29 June 2020

In 2013 Wigan Athletic shocked everyone by winning the FA Cup, beating Manchester City 1-0 in the final thanks to Ben Watson’s goal.

It was Wigan’s first ever major trophy and will forever be remembered at the football club, given its place in a predominantly rugby town. The win also secured a spot in the 2013/14 Europa League, Wigan’s first taste of continental football.

But just three days after their day out at Wembley, the Latics were relegated from the Premier League, becoming the first side to ever win the FA Cup and be demoted in the same season.

That brought a rare occurrence in the 2013/14 campaign, as a second-tier side took part in the Europa League group stages.

It wasn’t a happy spell for Wigan in the Europa League as they finished bottom of their group on five points, behind Rubin Kazan, Maribor and Zulte Waregem – winning just one game against Maribor.

But what has happened to the 20 players who stepped on the pitch for Wigan during their six Europa League games?

Scott Carson

Age: 34
Position: Goalkeeper
2013/14 Europa League appearances: 4
Current club: Manchester City (on loan from Derby County)

Scott Carson was a summer arrival at Wigan from Turkish side Bursaspor following the Latics’ relegation to the Championship and played in four of their six Europa League group stage games. The Englishman spent just two years with the club before moving to Derby in 2015.

Carson still remains on the books at Derby but has spent the 2019/20 season on loan with Manchester City, although he is yet to make an appearance.

Lee Nicholls

Age: 27
Position: Goalkeeper
2013/14 Europa League appearances: 2
Current club: MK Dons

A member of Wigan’s academy, Lee Nicholls spent most of his time with the club on loan, but was part of the Europa League squad in 2013/14, making two appearances. Another loan move followed before Nicholls left Wigan for MK Dons in 2016, where he remains and is the club’s first-choice goalkeeper.

Ryan Shotton

Age: 31
Position: Centre-back
2013/14 Europa League appearances: 4
Current club: Middlesbrough

Having enjoyed a spell of consistent appearances for Stoke City in the Premier League, Ryan Shotton was sent on loan to Wigan for the first half of the 2013/14 campaign.

Shortly after his return to Stoke, he was sold to Derby but struggled to hold down a permanent spot. A loan spell with Birmingham turned into a permanent move before Shotton left for current club Middlesbrough in 2017.

James Perch

Age: 34
Position: Right-back
2013/14 Europa League appearances: 4
Current club: Scunthorpe United

Like Carson, James Perch joined Wigan in the summer of 2013, from Newcastle United and spent two years with the Latics.

In 2015, the defender was sold to Queen’s Park Rangers, but made just 79 appearances for the London club in three years before joining Scunthorpe United where he has been pushed into midfield this season.

Thomas Rogne

Age: 29
Position: Centre-back
2013/14 Europa League appearances: 3
Current club: Lech Poznan

Thomas Rogne joined Wigan from Celtic in 2013 and spent just under two seasons with the Latics, making 17 appearances – three of which came in the Europa League.

He left for IFK Goteborg in March 2015 where he remained until 2018, joining current club Lech Poznan, frequently captaining the Polish side.

Jean Beausejour

Age: 35
Position: Left-back
2013/14 Europa League appearances: 3
Current club: Universidad de Chile

One of Wigan’s FA Cup winners, Jean Beausejour spent just two seasons with the club having joined from Birmingham in 2012. Making three appearances in the Europa League, Beausejour would leave Wigan at the end of the campaign to return to his native Chile with Colo Colo.

After a further two years at Colo Colo, Beausejour joined current club Universidad de Chile where he is a regular at left-back.

Stephen Crainey

Age: 38
Position: Left-back
2013/14 Europa League appearances: 4
Current club: Retired

Stephen Crainey spent just one season with Wigan, joining from Blackpool in the summer of 2013 and leaving for Fleetwood the following year. In his sole campaign with the Latics, Crainey made 30 appearances including four in the Europa League.

Crainey retired in 2016 after a year with Fylde.

Emmerson Boyce

Age: 40
Position: Right-back
2013/14 Europa League appearances: 5
Current club: Retired

Emmerson Boyce spent the majority of his senior career at Wigan, joining from Crystal Palace in 2006. He tasted the highs and lows with Wigan including their FA Cup win and five Europa League appearances, notching up 298 games in total.

After nine years with the Latics, Boyce joined Blackpool in 2015 before retiring a year later.

Leon Barnett

Age: 34
Position: Centre-back
2013/14 Europa League appearances: 5
Current club: Retired

Leon Barnett was another summer arrival in 2013, joining from Norwich City. The centre-back was thrown straight into the first team, making 53 appearances in the 2013/14 campaign including five in the Europa League.

Barnett would go on to spend three years with Wigan before joining Bury in 2016. After a year with Bury, the centre-back signed for Northampton Town, eventually retiring in 2018.

Subscribe to Squawka’s Youtube channel here.

James McArthur

Age: 32
Position: Central midfielder
2013/14 Europa League appearances: 5
Current club: Crystal Palace

James McArthur spent four years at Wigan having joined from Hamilton Academical in 2010 and was part of the team that won the FA Cup and earned their spot in the Europa League.

But McArthur would leave Wigan after just a year in the Championship, returning to the Premier League with Crystal Palace for whom he has made 199 appearances so far.

James McClean

Age: 30
Position: Left midfielder
2013/14 Europa League appearances: 5
Current club: Stoke City

Joining Wigan from Sunderland in the summer of 2013, James McClean spent two years with the club and played all but one of their Europa League matches in his debut campaign.

After 86 appearances, McClean left Wigan for West Bromwich Albion in 2015, spending three years in the West Midlands before making a short trip to Stoke City – where he remains.

Nick Powell

Age: 26
Position: Attacking midfielder
2013/14 Europa League appearances: 6
Current club: Stoke City

In the 2013/14 campaign, Nick Powell went on his first loan spell away from Manchester United, with Wigan the team securing his temporary services. The midfielder was Wigan’s top scorer in the Europa League, being responsible for three of their six goals.

After returning to United, Powell spent loan spells at Leicester City and Hull City before joining Wigan permanently in 2016. Powell then reunited with McClean at Stoke in the summer.

Roger Espinoza

Age: 33
Position: Central midfielder
2013/14 Europa League appearances: 3
Current club: Sporting Kansas City

Roger Espinoza joined Wigan from Sporting Kansas City just before their FA Cup win and was also part of the side that tested themselves in the Europa League. After two years with the Latics, Espinoza returned to Kansas where he remains.

Chris McCann

Age: 32
Position: Defensive midfielder
2013/14 Europa League appearances: 5
Current club: Oldham Athletic

One of Wigan’s arrivals prior to the 2013/14 season, Chris McCann spent three years with the Latics after joining from Burnley.

He would move to Atlanta United in 2016 but returned to England with Coventry City on loan shortly after. Another move in Major League Soccer to DC United followed before McCann joined Oldham Athletic in 2019.

Jordi Gomez

Age: 34
Position: Attacking midfielder
2013/14 Europa League appearances: 6
Current club: Omonia Nicosia

One of the stars of Roberto Martinez’s Wigan side, Jordi Gomez remained with the club for a year after their relegation to the Championship and was ever-present in their Europa League campaign.

Gomez joined Sunderland in 2014 but spent just two years at the club, including five months of loan at Blackburn Rovers before returning to Wigan. Another year with the Latics followed before spells with Rayo Vallecano and Levski Sofia preceded a move to Cyprus and Omonia Nicosia.

Ben Watson

Age: 34
Position: Central midfielder
2013/14 Europa League appearances: 4
Current club: Nottingham Forest

Wigan’s FA Cup final hero, Ben Watson spent six years with the Latics making 133 appearances in total. Watson left Wigan for Watford in 2015 but his time at Vicarage Road was hampered by injury and personal issues.

The 34-year-old is now at Nottingham Forest, having joined in 2018.

Nouha Dicko

Age: 27
Position: Striker
2013/14 Europa League appearances: 2
Current club: Vitesse (on loan from Hull)

Nouha Dicko made just two substitute appearances for Wigan in the Europa League, spanning a total of seven minutes. He was loaned out to Rotherham before the group stage was over and left the club permanently for Wolves in 2014.

In 2017 Dicko joined Hull and remains on their roster, but is currently on loan with Vitesse in the Eredivisie.

Callum McManaman

Age: 28
Position: Right-winger
2013/14 Europa League appearances: 6
Current club: Luton Town

Another big member of this Wigan side, Callum McManaman joined the club as a youngster and helped them in their FA Cup win.

McManaman was ever-present in the Europa League and stayed with them until 2015 when he was sold to West Brom. After a loan spell with Sheffield Wednesday and a permanent move to Sunderland, McManaman returned to Wigan – although he left in the summer for Luton Town.

Marc-Antoine Fortune

Age: 38
Position: Striker
2013/14 Europa League appearances: 5
Current club: Unattached

A journeyman of sorts, Marc-Antoine Fortune joined Wigan from West Brom in the summer of 2013 and led the line for them in the Europa League.

After two years he was released and, following spells with Coventry, Southend United and Chesterfield, the 38-year-old is currently without a club.

Grant Holt

Age: 39
Position: Striker
2013/14 Europa League appearances: 3
Current club: Retired

Grant Holt’s time with Wigan was filled with loan spells but, shortly after his move from Norwich in 2013, the striker fit in three Europa League appearances.

Holt eventually left Wigan in 2016 after three different loan spells, eventually joining Rochdale on a permanent basis. Further stints with Hibernian, King’s Lynn Town and Barrow followed before Holt announced his retirement in 2018. He is now a coach at Norwich City.