Wilson’s Wisdom: Return of the Jed can help Wallace strike back

Jed Wallace

Jed Wallace

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Ahead of the latest round of fixtures this weekend, his Championship statistics read as follows: Three starts, two substitute appearances and no goals.

In those three matches he started, he failed to complete the 90 minutes.

Frankly, Jed Wallace deserves better than that.

He is better than that.

The News/Sports Mail reigning player of the season, Wallace was the leading light last term.

In all competitions, he made 50 appearances and scored 17 goals – from midfield. A remarkable haul.

He was Pompey’s best player last season by a distance, even though his team-mates voted for Paul Robinson.

Maybe a tinge of envy clouded their judgement because thinking about what may have happened without his input last season leaves you with a shudder.

He perhaps didn’t quite go into the one-man team bracket but he wasn’t far off.

In three of the five matches since his last appearance for Wolves on October 18, he has been an unused substitute.

In another two, he hasn’t been involved in the matchday squad.

An injury niggle? A selection decision?

Unfortunately, the question doesn’t get asked of Kenny Jackett these days, which shows he is simply seen as a squad player.

It probably didn’t help his cause that he picked up an injury in pre-season – a rarity in itself – to curb his progress at his new club.

But Wallace is the type of player who needs to play regularly.

He needs to be in the limelight, he feeds off the attention and he likes being known. And in my mind, there’s nothing wrong with that.

It’s just the way he is – an approachable, outgoing character who doesn’t take life too seriously and enjoys what he does.

But as Pompey made the arduous trip to Carlisle this weekend, it rekindled memories of his superb long-range bullet of a strike at the same venue last season in the 2-2 draw.

Wallace’s quality shone through – as it did so often last season.

It was hard to see how he could stay at Fratton Park in the summer as he had outgrown his surroundings and deserved to play at a higher level.

But, there is a difference in being employed by a club in a higher division and playing at a higher level.

I’m still convinced he will eventually play regularly in the Championship or beyond, even if he has to move on from his current club.

But sometimes a player needs a mental lift after a tricky time.

I’m sure you’ve twigged where I am going with this but Wallace in Paul Cook’s team could be exactly what is required – by all parties.

His pace can stretch teams, his quality and extra energy would surely add goals from midfield.

Play him out wide or through the middle and he would add an extra dimension.

Would Wolves let him go out on loan? Would Pompey be able to afford his wages? Would he want to return to the club that made him or would he fear a return would be seen as failure?

We don’t know the answers.

But for Pompey, I think it’s worth asking the question.

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