WIGAN Athletic manager, Liam Richardson, has described Zimbabwe international Tendayi Darikwa as an excellent signing.
The veteran defender penned a new two-year deal yesterday.
Richardson, who has previously worked with Darikwa, at the start of his professional career, is a huge fan of the Warriors star.
“I think, he’s an excellent signing. I’ve, obviously, worked with Tendayi over a few periods, and he brings a real calmness to the team,” said Richardson.
“There are two characters to a footballer — there is one on the pitch, and one in the changing rooms — and in my opinion, Tendayi is excellent in both.
“He sets standards in training, for himself and others, and then on the pitch, the quality speaks for itself.”
The Latics boss has previously worked with Darikwa at Chesterfield, at the start of his career, before moving on to join Burnley and Nottingham Forest.
Darikwa joined the Latics in January and made 26 appearances.
The club announced yesterday the Zimbabwe international has committed his future to the English League One side.
The defender played a pivotal role, in helping the Latics retain their League One status, last season.
He had joined them mid-season, on a short term contract, from Sky Bet Championship side, Nottingham Forest.
“Wigan Athletic is delighted to confirm that defender Tendayi Darikwa has signed a new deal at the Club until the summer of 2023,” the club said.
“Darikwa will continue to provide a wealth of experience, in the dressing room, to his fellow teammates, having played in over 200 league matches, with a good percentage of those coming in the Championship.”
The right-sided defender was the mainstay, in the Latics’ starting XI, in the second half of the 2020-21 League One season.
He played a crucial role as he helped Richardson’s side survive relegation, against all of the odds.
After making his debut, in the 3-3 draw at Rochdale in January, the 29-year-old went on to help the defence provide a solid platform, to push towards safety.
Darikwa’s career suffered a huge setback, after he suffered a serious knee injury, which kept him out for 16 months.
It eventually cost him his place at Nottingham Forrest.
He has said he is enjoying his renaissance at Wigan.
“I’m delighted to be back here at the Football Club,” he told the club’s website.
“I really enjoyed my time, during the second half of last season, when I joined.
“We’ve been speaking, for a few weeks now, and I can’t wait to get going again.
“I’m really grateful to the manager, for bringing me in, and giving me the opportunity to play football matches.
“Hopefully, I can continue that next season and we can be successful together.
“Leam was probably the main reason (to re-sign). As soon as he signed his deal last season, he outlined his plans for this year and it was something I wanted to be part of. I want to take this Football Club back to where it should be.”
Darikwa is expected to be part of Warriors for the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, and the 2021 AFCON finals, in Cameroon.
He has become a key player for Zimbabwe, since his debut in 2017.
He was part of the Warriors squad during the 2019 AFCON qualifiers, and the finals, held in Egypt.
He picked up a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury soon after returning to England.
But, he returned to be part of Zimbabwe’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, when he featured, in the back-to-back matches, against Algeria.