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Martinez keen to keep Kirkland


Chris Kirkland

Chris Kirkland

Chris Kirkland

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez has assured goalkeeper Chris Kirkland he still has a vital role to play at the club.

The former Liverpool keeper lost his place as first choice at the DW Stadium to on-loan Ali Al Habsi after an indifferent start to the current season.

However, Martinez said: "We need Chris Kirkland at this football club, there is no other issue at all."

With Al Habsi unable to play against his parent club, Kirkland returned for last weekend's Barclays Premier League clash against Bolton and performed solidly in a 1-1 draw.

There have been reports claiming 29-year-old Kirkland, a former Coventry prodigy who has one England cap, is considering his future but Martinez does not want him to leave.

Martinez said: "I have got a great relationship with Chris and we have spoken about his role at the football club.

"I told him he has been a number one for many seasons and has earned the respect of the fans and everyone.

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"Some of the things that have been in the press I think have been taken out of context.

"If he was to be happy and not playing, there would be something really wrong.

"He is a great competitor, has great standards and his role at the football club is vital - playing or not playing."

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