Wallace blossoming from regular Pompey run
It took four-and-a-half months for an initial glimpse to turn into a regular sight.
Now Guy Whittingham believes Jed Wallace is starting to blossom from his extended run in the Pompey first team.
The 18-year-old made his Blues bow among a flood of debutants against Plymouth in the Capital One Cup back in August.
It wasn’t until New Year’s Day when the energetic midfielder would make his next Pompey appearance, though, getting his chance because of newly-created openings in the squad.
Bolstered by a loan spell with Ryman premier club Whitehawk in between, Wallace has gone on to feature in every Blues match since the start of 2013 – mainly in the starting line-up.
So far his 13 appearances have yielded two goals and plenty of praise – in addition to transfer interest from Brighton and Port Vale.
And for the caretaker boss, improvements in the youngster’s game are now obvious to see.
Whittingham said: ‘I spoke to Jed last week and went over some of the videos with him. He’s learning quick.
‘He wants to push on with his football career and we want him to push on with his football career because that benefits everybody.
‘Jed knows he has a lot to learn. We have gone through things but you can already see the improvements.
‘There was an occasion against MK Dons recently when he broke free on a counter-attack. Probably two or three weeks ago he would have kept going and taken the last man on – but he played it early and kept running.
‘I think that is part of the improvement he has made. He is beginning to realise things now and beginning to learn the level he is playing at.
‘He’s also playing better as a result.
‘Jed has had his highs and lows and it’s interesting to see how the younger kids react to it as well because they know they have a lot of time in front of them.
‘They have probably reacted differently from one or two players who might think “I have not got long to play, I want to make the most of what it is”.
‘He’s a confident lad but the more he plays, the more he listens, the more he takes it on board and the better he will be.’
It was David Connolly who last week stressed in The News the importance of youngsters listening to the older players.
They are sentiments Whittingham agrees with as he looks for Wallace & Co to learn good habits from their team-mates.
He added: ‘It’s a case of Jed being out there playing and listening to people. Not just us (the management) but listening to players.
‘There are one or two very experienced players who have been at high levels and if he wants to go and get to a high level he needs to take notice of such people.
‘Not just Jed – there’s Ashley Harris, Adam Webster, Dan Butler, all of them. Even going back to the Academy lads who will inevitably be part of us next year, they need to know there’s a lot of learning to do.
‘The youngsters have got to understand there is a lot of learning to do. They will learn by experience, they will make mistakes. Don’t get too downhearted by them, it is part of their learning.’