Wigan have extended the contract of footballing veteran Jussi Jaaskelainen.
Having taken over the starting role in place of former Latics keeper Richard O’Donnell in October, Jaaskelainen has delivered a string of impressive results, as Wigan surge towards promotion from League One.
Jaaskelainen was initially expected to take up the position of substitute keeper after being signed on a free in the summer of 2015. However, after a poor run of form for then starter Richard O’Donnell, the 40-year-old from Finland made his Wigan debut at home to O’Donnell’s former club Walsall in October, keeping a clean sheet in a scoreless draw.
Since then, Jaaskelainen has remained an ever present in the Latics starting lineup, making 32 appearances and keeping an impressive 15 clean sheets in all competitions.
With the veteran having only signed a one-year deal after signing last summer, speculation as to whether Jaaskelainen would remain at the club heading into the 2016/17 season was swiftly ended following the announcement on Wigan’s club website that Jaaskelainen had extended his contract a further year, keeping the veteran at the club for another season at least.
Now in his 20th season of English football, Jaaskelainen spoke to Wigan’s club website about his new contract extension:
“I’ve really enjoyed my season here so far, the team is playing well, the club have been very good to me and it’s been great to play for the manager with the way he does things.
“We’ve got a great team spirit in the dressing room at the moment, and this is less about me and more about the team. If my experience can help what we want to achieve then that is fantastic.”
Latics boss Gary Caldwell also made comment, commending Jaaskelainen for his professional approach to the game:
“Jussi has been absolutely tremendous since breaking into the team. I’ve said on several occasions when asked about him that there’s nothing I can teach him about goalkeeping, or how to recover and train.
“But it’s a testament to his professionalism how he stays focused and ready to play, week in week out and his performances speak for themselves – he adds a calmness to our back four. We are delighted he has agreed to stay with us next season, to have his tremendous experience at our disposal is a huge advantage.”
As Jaaskelainen and Wigan’s season comes to a climax, the Finnish keeper will be hoping The Latics can secure promotion, the second of the veteran’s career, having before secured promotion to the Premier League with Bolton Wanderers in 2001.