By Sahr Morris Jnr
Captain of Sierra Leone senior national team, Steven Caulker has expressed his desire to repay Wigan Athletic manager, Kolo Touré, for the faith he showed in him after he joined the Latic as the club’s first signing of the January Transfer Window.
Caulker, 31, joined Latics following a four-year spell in Turkey, putting pen to paper on an initial deal that runs until the end of the 2022/23 Championship campaign.
And in his first interview with the club, the Sierra Leone national team captain told the Latics TV that, he was excited to be back playing in the second tier of English football, as it was a challenge that feels like the perfect next step in his career.
“It’s a pleasure to be here,” he smiled. “I have had such a warm welcome today, and I’m excited to get started.
“I feel this challenge at this time in my career is the right step for me. I’m excited to be back home and to be in the Championship again. There are lots of things (I want) to prove and I’m looking forward to getting started.”
Caulker who is a former teammate with the manager during his loan spell at Liverpool, said it was the Gaffer who persuaded him to join the Football Club.
“After making the decision to come back from Turkey a couple of weeks ago, the Gaffer reached out to me,” he explained.
“He is an ex-teammate of mine many years ago, and he spoke about the opportunity and the project he’s got going here.
“He spoke about the challenge that we face, and he wanted me to be a part of it. For me, he’s a great guy and one of the best guys I’ve met in football.
“The manager played a key part in myself coming here. I’m an experienced player and I’ve had 14-15 seasons under my belt, and for me, the most important thing is mutual respect with the manager.
“Kolo (Touré) has shown that, and I want to repay that faith by performing on the pitch.”
The central defender started his professional career at Tottenham Hotspur in 2009, before spending three seasons on loan with Yeovil Town, Bristol City and Swansea City to gain senior experience. It was with the latter where Caulker would experience his first taste of top-flight football, with the central defender making 26 starts as Swansea finished 11th in 2011/12.
The 31-year-old was rewarded with a call-up for England on the back of his impressive performances, scoring on his debut against Sweden in November 2012, the same year he represented Team GB at the London Olympics.
Following his international exploits, Caulker made 28 appearances in all competitions upon his return to White Hart Lane, before making a permanent switch to Cardiff City in July 2013. He was an ever-present for the Bluebirds in the Premier League, playing every minute of the campaign, scoring on five occasions.