On a goal-scoring spree

Kone is vastly experienced, having started his career in his homeland, Ivory Coast, before moving to Lierse in Belgium when he was only 18 and then to Holland for spells at Roda and PSV Eindhoven.

Wigan are past masters at avoiding relegation and Arouna Kone is playing a major part in their latest attempt at a great escape.

Kone joined the Latics from Spanish side Levante on a three-year deal in the summer and he has proved to be a shrewd acquisition. The pacy striker made it six goals in as many games when he scored the winner against Norwich, a victory that move Roberto Martinez’s side out of the bottom three in the English Premier League.

There was little fanfare when Kone arrived at the DW Stadium back in August, but Martinez is delighted with the manner in which the Ivory Coast front-man has adapted to the English top flight.

The Wigan boss said: “Any striker that comes to the Premier League always takes a bit of time to settle in but Arouna Kone never had that period. From the first day that he arrived, he came on as a sub against Chelsea, he made a contribution. And his form was very good. He went away for the African Nations Cup and that was a real blow for us.

“Since he arrived I think we’ve seen a player that is desperate to help the team, to show what he can do, and the amount of goals he has and the manner he’s getting those goals is quite impressive.”

Kone is vastly experienced, having started his career in his homeland before moving to Lierse in Belgium when he was only 18 and then to Holland for spells at Roda and PSV Eindhoven.

He then endured a less than successful spell with Spanish side Sevilla after a big-money move and spent loan spells with Hannover and then Levante, who he then joined in a permanent deal, before Wigan came knocking.

Martinez believes Kone is currently at the peak of his powers and the Spaniard hopes his star striker can bring the best out of Wigan’s emerging players such as Callum McManaman.

The Latics manager said: “You’ve got a striker who’s played in Spain, Holland, Germany and now the British league. He’s at the best moment of his career. The goals that he scored with Levante last season and what he’s doing with us now show he’s a man that’s ready to pass influence to our youngsters. And I hope that Callum McManaman and the youngsters at the club can learn a lot from Arouna.”

Not only has Kone played a big role in giving Wigan a great chance of staying in the top flight, but he has also helped the Lancashire club reach their first ever FA Cup semifinal.

The Latics will fancy their chances of reaching the final as they face Championship side Millwall in the semifinal at Wembley.

So although staying in the EPL remains a priority for Wigan, they will be hoping to have more than just survival to celebrate in May.

And if Kone maintains his current form then anything is possible.

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