Desmond Kane

Maloney ready to snub Premier League return to stay with Wigan

Desmond Kane

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England's Frank Lampard (L) makes a late challenge on Scotland's Shaun Maloney during their friendly match at Wembley …

Shaun Maloney will return to reality when Wigan visit Bournemouth on Saturday after spending the past week running around the esteemed environs of Wembley.

Maloney played in Wigan's 2-0 defeat to Manchester United in the Community Shield last Sunday before returning to the national stadium as Scotland lost 3-2 to England in an engrossing international friendly on Wednesday.

Bournemouth's Goldsands Stadium is a far cry from those heady occasions, but attacking midfielder Maloney is adamant his mind is focused on less salubrious surroundings with Owen Coyle's side rather than hankering after a return to England's top league.

"I think I will be staying with Wigan," said Maloney. "I think towards the end of last season it was pretty uncertain what my future would be, but I am enjoying my football where I am."

Maloney has been linked with several Premier League clubs after Wigan suffered relegation to the Championship. He has started off this season in some style, scoring in a 4-0 win at Barnsley in his side's opening day fixture a fortnight ago.

Liverpool, Sunderland, former club Aston Villa and former manager Roberto Martinez's Everton have all been credited with an interest in the attacking midfielder. It was Martinez who signed Maloney for Wigan from Celtic two years ago.

Maloney enjoyed the most successful season in his career under Martinez last season playing 36 matches, and scoring the winner in the club's FA Cup semi-final win over Millwall.

He threw over the corner that saw Ben Watson head a late winner as Wigan usurped Manchester City to win the FA Cup with an astonishing 1-0 win in May.

Former Wigan team-mates Aroune Kone, Joel Robles and Antolin Alcarez have joined Martinez at Everton with Maynor Figueroa heading for Hull.

Maloney does not expect Wigan chairman Dave Whelan to order a fire sale before the summer transfer window closes at the end of August.

"The chairman was honest in his views at the end of last season . There was people going to leave, but a few have left...will there be any more? I don't think the manager will want that," said Maloney.

"If anything, I think he will be wanting to bring people in.

"Of course, I will miss the buzz of competing against the top players in the Premier League, but I also played in every game last season.

"I feel it is my job to help to get the club back up this season."

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Maloney would like to see the return of international football's oldest fixture on a more regular basis after England's friendly with Scotland was declared a rousing success.

A return match has already been touted for 2015 at Hampden Park if the British rivals avoid each other in the draw for the 2016 European Championship qualifiers.

"I think everyone in our camp would like to see it a bit more often," said Maloney. "I'm not sure about England because they are qualifying for major tournaments at the moment.

"We would certainly like to see it a bit more often than letting 14 years go past."

Maloney shared manager Gordon Strachan's frustration in losing to England after moving into a 2-1 lead courtesy of Kenny Miller's goal at the outset of the second half.

Danny Welbeck and Rickie Lambert scored headers for England that were easily preventable.

Scotland are out of contention to qualify for next summer's World Cup finals in Brazil, but host a powerful Belgium side at Hampden Park in their next competitive match on September 6.

Maloney remains positive about the performance against England.

"The overriding feeling is we are disappointed to lose having twice been ahead," said Maloney. "It hurts us to know we lost two set-piece goals that cost us that match. It is not great from our point of view because of the way we play and knowing that we have to be strong in defence.

"We must also remember that England are a good side. I think in terms of the quality, there is a reasonable gulf between us and England. But I think we were well organised and with a real work ethic, we managed to narrow the gap.

"There is still a gulf there, but I think we closed it a bit at some points.

"The manager told us to be positive while being aware of how England were going to play, and how dangerous they can be.

"At times, it might have looked like we were pretty defensive but when we come to places like this we have to start off like that.

"I enjoyed the match, but I guess you always enjoy it that bit more if we had won the game."

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