Wigan Athletic boss Roberto Martinez has urged Callum McManaman to reject the advances of Liverpool and remain at the DW Stadium ahead of the club's return to the Championship.
The Latics' relegation from the Premier League was confirmed on Tuesday following a 4-1 defeat to Arsenal, a contrast in emotions from four days previous when Martinez's side beat Manchester City in the FA Cup final to claim their first ever major trophy.
McManaman earned the man-of-the-match award at Wembley after a thrilling performance on the wing against City's Gael Clichy, with his run forcing the corner from which Ben Watson flung Wigan into a stoppage time lead.
Naturally, McManaman's performance and Wigan's subsequent relegation has sparked suggestions the Merseyside born-22 year old could be a target for home-town club Liverpool this summer.
But Martinez, whose own future with Athletic is uncertain with the Spaniard among the favourites to replace David Moyes as Everton manager, believes McManaman can fulfil his potential with a spell in the second tier.
"I think if one player needs to stay at the club and become an important part of this football club, it is Callum," said Martinez, whose relegated Wigan face Aston Villa on the final day of the season
"Callum has been a phenomenal player for us but he still needs to work at certain aspects to become the player he can be and will be and the Championship to play week in, week out will be perfect for him."
Wigan's task of holding on to McManaman has been handed a boost with the news that an ankle injury will rule him out of the Under-21 European Championship in Israel this summer; a potential shop window for some of the continent's brightest young talents.
After sporadic appearances for Wigan in the League Cup, McManaman's performances in the New Year in the FA Cup, scoring in rounds five and six as well as the semi-final against Millwall, sparked an upturn in his Premier League involvement, having started nine of the club's last 10 league games.
While a return to Merseyside with Liverpool would be a coup for McManaman, and a not least represent a physiological blow to rivals Everton who released the former England Under-20 international in 2007, the player would be required to assess whether such a meteoric move is required at such an early stage of his career.
After signing Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho in the January transfer window, the pair having proved successful since moves from Chelsea and Inter Milan respectively, Liverpool's seventh place this season - confirmed prior to the final day of the season - suggests work in the summer window is still to be done to help ensure Champions League football returns to Anfeld.