EXCLUSIVE: Young Aussie striker Patrick Antelmi is keen to put his setback at Leeds United behind him after signing an 18-month contract with Championship club Wigan Athletic.
Antelmi is manager Uwe Rosler’s first signing since taking over the club, after the forward impressed previous Wigan boss Owen Coyle on a 10-day trial.
The 19-year old, who first moved to England with Portsmouth as a 16-year old, joined Leeds United in September 2012 but was released by the club in May after manager Neil Warnock was removed.
“Leeds was just unfortunate,” Antelmi said. “Neil Warnock, before he left, offered me a two-year deal and four days after me and Neil sat down he got the sack.
“I had to wait and be patient for someone else to come in and when Brian McDermott came in he turned around and said he’s sorry he doesn’t know me, so I had to pack my bags and go.
“I had a good season with Leeds, was the top goal-scorer in the Under-21s, played every game unless I was injured.
“But it was just unfortunate, it’s just one of those things in football. You get hit but you’ve got to get back up and keep going that’s what I did. I’ve got something now and I’m happy.”
Antelmi trialled with Blackburn, Wolverhampton and Charlton after his departure from Leeds, before deciding to join the Latics.
“I went to Blackburn, I was there for about two months,” he said. “I was going to sign a contract there for two years but we just couldn’t come to an agreement with the owners.
“Went to Wolves, same thing, we couldn’t come to an agreement but they wanted me to stay and with Charlton they wanted me to stay but they were very tight with their budget. Then Wigan popped up and I went and had a look.”
Antelmi admitted that after Coyle got the axe at the DW Stadium he was concerned.
“I’m glad that nothing else went wrong after Owen Coyle left and the new manager came in,” he said.
“I’m glad that they still had faith and also I’m guessing the coaches there that stayed obviously had faith in me and passed it on to the new gaffer.”
Raised in Liverpool in western Sydney and a Blacktown City Demons junior, Antelmi is hoping to push for a first-team spot at Wigan.
“I was quite happy when I first walked in there,” he said. “I think it’s a good club, good people and environment.
“With the new manager coming in now, (we’ve) just adapted to what he wants from the players and what he’s expecting from us. We’re learning from him and he’s learning from us.”
Antelmi is content to go out on loan if needed and the former Joey is also keen to get into Socceroo contention in the future.
“Just to get in the first team as soon as I can,” he said.
“If that means to get some first-team experience on loan, before being able to make my debut for Wigan, then it’s something I will take and consider. I’d be happy to do that. To improve and to also to get seen to possibly get called up for the Socceroos, because that’s the dream isn’t it.”