Wilson’s Wisdom: Wallace shows importance of youth to Pompey

Jed Wallace. Picture: Joe Pepler
Jed Wallace. Picture: Joe Pepler
Conor Chaplin could start againsyt Plymouth. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey v Plymouth: pre-match talking points

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There were not too many eyebrows raised when Jed Wallace completed his move away from Pompey.

It had been on the cards.

His stock was high, he was available at a reasonable price and he is clearly too good for League Two, which all adds up to a transfer.

And it’s strange how a move to Wolves – an ambitious club with the right sort of stature and tradition – can cushion the blow of losing the club’s best player.

Regardless of his affinity to Pompey – and he certainly had a lot more affection than others – he felt he had to move for his career.

It’s hard to blame him for that.

Few could question his effort or commitment, even when it looked likely he would be heading for pastures new towards the end of the season.

As a player and a character, he will be missed.

He’s not the only talent to have shone at Fratton Park before moving on to a higher level but it’s been quite a while since anyone has trodden a similar path.

You could argue Marc Wilson and Joel Ward made the step-up but there were other circumstances at play when they moved on with the club’s finances playing a major part.

But Darren Anderton and Kit Symons would certainly fall into the category of home-grown youngsters moving on to bigger things after breaking through at Pompey as Spurs and Manchester City respectively came calling back in the 1990s.

Young players have also dropped down looking for opportunities – and Matt Ritchie proves that is not always such a bad thing.

Home-grown players generating transfer income is a double-edged sword.

There must be some great pride behind the scenes that the years of development have paid off in the shape of a cash boost.

It is testament and tangible proof of the good work that goes on behind the scenes that we rarely hear about until someone breaks through into the first team.

There must also be some disappointment he has left at the age of 21 with his best years ahead of him.

These days, the route to the first team looks more accessible so there will be a chance for others.

During the Premier League years, the path was blocked and it only reopened through necessity as the club was often forced to turn to youth.

The question now is will Wallace be the last for a few years to shine brightly and earn a move or will it be a shift in the way Pompey operates to use young players as an extra income stream?

Clubs like Crewe have balanced their books down the years by producing quality players who went on to earn moves.

Players like Jack Whatmough, Ben Close and Conor Chaplin must be on the radar of other clubs and it might happen again.

At various times over the past couple of years, there were some rumours of the club cutting their investment in the Academy.

If that was ever on the cards, hopefully Wallace’s move is enough to open a few eyes of those who only see the figures on a balance sheet.

But the positive is that the Fratton Park production line appears to be in working order.