Semple eager to learn from former roomie with a view

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RYAN Semple reckons that Boston United’s pre-season friendly with Premier League Wigan Athletic could be the perfect opportunity to further his footballing career.

No, the Pilgrims winger will not be asking his old roommate Roberto Martinez for a place in the Latics’ 25-man squad for the upcoming season.

Instead, he’ll be hoping the Wigan boss makes the journey to York Street on Saturday (KO 3pm), so he can get some coaching tips.

Semple and Martinez were teammates at Chester City, before the Spaniard moved on to manage Swansea City and Wigan.

Now, the Boston man – who signed for United after meeting ex-boss Paul Hurst when they were studying for their coaching badges together – is thinking about a future in the dug-out.

And he would like some advice from a manager he looks up to.

“I always knew he was going to become a successful manager,” Semple told The Standard.

“He absolutely loves football. He’s always been a model professional.

“At Chester he spent a lot of his time talking to the younger players, trying to encourage them and leading by example.

“I’m sure he wouldn’t be offended by me saying he didn’t spend all his career playing at the top level.

“Maybe that’s helped him understand the game a bit better.

“Either way, he’s done a fantastic job with his first season at Wigan.”

However, before his proposed reunion, Semple has the small matter of 90 minutes on the pitch against whatever XI the Latics choose to field.

And it’s a prospect which is exciting the player.

He added: “It’s going to be a massive game – so much bigger after Wigan retained their place in the Premier League.

“It’s a fantastic occasion to have a Premier League club playing at York Street, both for the club and the supporters.

“It’s a game I definitely want to be involved in. It will be a great experience.”

Older Pilgrims fans would also love to see United get the better of Wigan to ease the pain of 1978 when, after United won the Northern Premier League, Football League officials opted to elect runners-up Wigan into their ranks instead.

And with Wigan now enjoying Premier League status, many Pilgrims fans are left thinking what might have been.

In recent years, Boston have played home friendlies against Manchester United, Liverpool, Bolton Wanderers and Leicester City, while all three had Premier League status, although it was only Leicester who fielded a team which included household names at the time.

The most memorable was Ade Akinbiyi, the striker who was going through a highly-publicised goal drought at the time, which wasn’t helped by two point-blank saves from Paul Bastock, which extended his run without a strike.