Potential Everton boss Roberto Martinez – the player (video)

Roberto Martinez, despite Wigan’s relegation, has become one of the country’s most eligible managerial bachelors, thanks in no small part to an FA Cup win over the riches of Manchester City. However, it wasn’t long ago that the 39-year-old was highly-regarded for his skills on the pitch.

Martinez began his professional career at Real Zaragoza, and although they won the Copa del Rey during his time there, he mainly turned out for the B team. He returned to where he had spent his youth – CF Balaguer – and before long Wigan came calling, in the summer of 1995. At this point, the club were in the relative doldrums, in what is now known as League Two.

Martinez came into his own at this level, scoring 13 goals. He made the PFA Team Of The Year, and was voted by supporters as the club’s Player of the Year – kick-starting an affection that has lasted nearly a decade, despite the relegation and resignation that has dogged the club in recent weeks. The Spaniard spent six years at Wigan, making 180 appearances, with the Latics a division higher when he left, and having won the Football League Trophy during his time at the club.

Short spells at Motherwell and Walsall followed, before his three-year spell at Swansea, another club who were in the bottom tier of the Football League when he arrived. In fact, he helped preserve league status after his January 2003 arrival, becoming the Swansea captain and eventually one of their best-loved players.

After promotion to League One, Martinez was eventually released by then manager Kenny Jackett. However, after a year at Chester, Martinez returned as player-manager, much to the delight of the Welsh fans. Before long, the ‘player’ tag had been dropped and Swansea’s golden era was set into motion.

Both Swansea and Wigan in particular have great reasons to remember Martinez, as both a player and a manager.