The Insider: Pompey recruit Wheeler was big Exeter favourite

Josh Flint created Pompey Academy's goal against Vitesse Arnhem

Plucky Pompey Academy fall to Vitesse Arnhem defeat

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Simon Carter has entered his 40th season supporting Exeter City.

Here The News journalist gives his opinion on former Grecians favourite David Wheeler – and what Pompey fans can expect to see...

David Wheeler pictured during his Exeter days

David Wheeler pictured during his Exeter days

Wheeler came from Staines Town in the summer of 2013 at a time when manager Paul Tisdale didn’t generally sign players from the lower non-league spectrum, unless he previously worked with them.

For Wheeler’s first few seasons at St James Park, he was predominantly an impact second-half substitute.

Not with a huge amount of success, but always a crowd favourite because he did something different. 

He was hard working, would take people on, look to create something, pick the ball up and run, he never hid. That’s why he was so popular.

Former Exeter boss Paul Tisdale discovered David Wheeler

Former Exeter boss Paul Tisdale discovered David Wheeler

His goal at Fratton Park in September 2015 was one of the best scored from an Exeter player for many a year. We were totally outplayed that game, but still won.

Around that time he started to get a regular run of games, yet it wasn’t until the following season when he really came into his own, culminating in a move to QPR.

Wheeler scored in seven-successive matches during the 2016-17 campaign, including the winner against Pompey, once more at Fratton Park. He ended the season with 21 goals in all competitions.

Perhaps surprising to many people, he was incredibly good in the air at Exeter. He never served as a central striker or an out-and-out winger, but would drift in to win headers.

A defender would hit a high ball towards the edge of the 18-yard box and he would attempt to flick it on. The amount he won was magnificent for a player not that tall – he has such a great leap.

In terms of his role under Tisdale, the systems were varied, but most of the time Wheeler would play on the right. He was a winger who could come inside to head the ball and not hog the flanks.

When he signed for QPR I was amazed. Although a good player, I didn't think a Championship club would sign him for £600,000 after, in all fairness, one really good season behind him.

Following his move to Pompey, it represents only his second season outside of League Two.

Is he a top of League One player? I will be intrigued. Wheeler’s a good League Two player without being outstanding, who had one very good season.

Whether he can perform at a higher level, I guess we’ll see.