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Wigan and Republic of Ireland under-21 defender spoke to Goal.com about his aspirations for the coming season at club and international level

EXCLUSIVE
by Ryan Kelly

Wigan Athletic defender Rob Kiernan says that he wants to be playing every week in the coming season after overcoming injury troubles.

The former Watford centre back suffered an injury setback at the end of last season during a loan spell with Accrington Stanley when he damaged ankle ligaments but is eager to make his mark after a period of recuperation.

"To be involved with the first-team squad is obviously great and my main aim, but I want to be playing every week," the 21-year-old told Goal.com.

"I'd be keen to go out on loan to get playing and earn myself a new contract as it's the last year of my current deal."

He added: "My ankle has healed really well. I had the entire summer to do the relevant strength and balance work on it.

"I've been eased back into pre season slowly, but I am fit and ready. The physios at the club are very pleased with my recovery and I'll going back into full training next week."

ROB KIERNAN | Wigan Athletic, Defender, 21

CAREER FILE
Date of birth: 13-1-1991
Position: Centre back
First-team appearances: 0
INTERNATIONAL FILE
Under-21 caps 10
Senior caps 0
He's a bit like John Terry

Roberto Martinez's side finished 15th in the English Premier League last season with a late run of results propelling the Latics out of the relegation zone. Kiernan believes that their survival pays testament to the quality in the squad.

"I think we've found our style of play," he said. "And the run of form at the end of last season shows what the team is capable of."

The Watford-born defender is also the current captain of the Republic of Ireland under-21 squad and has been a mainstay in manager Noel King's team, who are on course to qualify for the Uefa U21 European Championship in Israel next year.

Unfortunately, the ankle injury at the end of last season ruled him out of the Uefa U21 European Championship qualifier against Italy in June, which ended 2-2.

However, Kiernan is desperate to play for the Boys in Green and says that the current U21 squad is amply talented to secure qualification, starting with a result in the upcoming clash against Turkey.

"I'll be more than ready for Turkey in August. I'm working hard and I'll be strong and fit from all the pre season games," said the defender.

He added: "I can't wait to be back out there playing in a green shirt. I was so gutted missing the Italy game. I hate missing games but the boys pulled it back and a draw was a decent result in fairness.

"I genuinely believe we can qualify. I've said it from the start: when everyone's fit we have a strong squad, as strong as anyone else," he concluded.

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