Jed Wallace: It was emotional but I had to leave Portsmouth for Wolves - for the sake of my career

Jed Wallace has revealed the reasons behind his decision to walk away from Fratton Park.

Tuesday, 9th June 2020, 12:30 pm
Updated Monday, 15th June 2020, 10:58 am
Jed Wallace felt it was the right time to leave Pompey in May 2015. Picture: Joe Pepler

The newly-crowned The News/Sports Mail’s Player of the Season departed in May 2015 following a season which saw him claim 17 goals.

Kenny Jackett’s Wolves had been long-time admirers for the talented winger who had emerged through the Blues’ Academy.

Wallace would make the move to the Championship side, while has since enhanced his reputation with Millwall.

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And, in a 2017 interview for Played Up Pompey Too, Wallace explained why it was the right time to walk away from Pompey.

‘A few tried to get me on a loan in March 2015 with view to a permanent deal, like Wolves and Fulham, but I’d promised Awfs I would stay the full campaign. That became my target,’ he told Played Up Pompey Too.

‘Every game I was wondering who could potentially be watching. For instance, how close was Mansfield in relation to Nottingham Forest and Wolves, perhaps they might be in attendance?

‘Wolves watched me 55 times in total, the last occasion at Carlisle United when I scored from distance in a 2-2 draw.

‘I was both angry and gutted when Awfs left as manager in April 2015. He did a few things he will regret and will tell you that, but I desperately wanted him to do well.

‘As a team we should have done something, but in the end it had run its course. The problem was it didn't appear we were improving.

‘I would hear people come into the dressing room and say “That’s a good draw at Dagenham & Redbridge” – but I don’t understand how Pompey drawing with Dagenham is a good draw, I can’t get my head around it. That final season still annoys me.

‘Awfs is important to me, he and my dad have been the most influential people in my career. He calmed me down, I was so enthusiastic to do well and that was my biggest problem, I’d get so frustrated that I’d try to win a game on my own.

‘Yet as that last year wore on, emotionally I felt I had done my time and needed a change. I started off as the worst player at Pompey and, in my opinion, worked my way into the best player and believed it should be a continuous journey.

‘There had long been a negative feel around Pompey through our demise down the divisions and I needed to experience something different. As soon as I knew we weren't getting promoted my decision was made.

‘If the club had been in the Championship I would have remained forever, no doubt about that.

‘Jose Mourinho could have come in as Pompey’s manager but I was always going to leave in the summer of 2015. They could have handed me £10,000 a week, but it wasn't about finances.

‘I just had to play in the Championship and be around better players - I don’t know how I could have improved any more at Fratton Park.

‘I scored 17 goals that final season. If I had stayed, people would have expected me to get 25 goals the following campaign – if I’d scored 10 it would be “He’s rubbish, what’s happened to him?”.

‘If I broke my leg at Wolves I could go on loan at Pompey to get my fitness back. If I broke my leg at Pompey I would go on loan to Bognor Regis Town to get my fitness back, that’s the difference.

‘Everyone said we were going to go up the following year, but people also insisted we were going to go up under Awfs. I couldn’t keep staying for one more season – do I stay in League Two until I am 26?

‘I spoke personal terms with Fulham and, had I waited, could have looked at seven or eight clubs, but Wolves had been in the pipeline for two years. Every agent said “Wolves love you” and every transfer window I wondered whether they would bid.

‘I was gutted to go, but it was special to have a Fratton Park farewell in a 1-1 draw against York City for our final match of the season - and my mum, dad and sister were there to see it.

‘It was very emotional with the fans, but the right time to go.’

Jed Wallace made 121 Pompey appearances and scored 30 goals from August 2011 until May 2015.

Played Up Pompey Too, released in 2017, is still available from Amazon. While Played Up Pompey Three, which contains more of your favourite Blues players, is out in September.

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