Ricky Holmes: Being separated from my Portsmouth pal Jed Wallace was the best thing for our careers
Ricky Holmes is convinced being separated from Jed Wallace benefited their careers.
The Pompey duo became inseparable following Holmes’ Fratton Park arrival in the summer of 2013, going on to share a Port Solent house together.
They would often be spotted on evenings out in the city, enjoying the social life.
However, Andy Awford became concerned over their influence on one another during the 2014-15 campaign.
And, looking back, the 32-year-old believes it was the correct decision for the friends.
He told The News: ‘Me and Jed are still big mates. I had the best 18 months of my life down there with him, it just clicked straight away.
‘Initially I lived with Joe Devera in Southsea, who I knew from Barnet, and Jed was always round. Then me and Jed lived together in Port Solent.
‘The best thing ever for Jed ever was me leaving – he will say it and I will say it.
‘It was good management from Andy Awford. He probably thought “We’ve got to get Rick out of the door to get the best out of Jed” – and it worked.
‘We lived together, I wasn’t playing and I liked a drink. I like going out, just living my life, I always have done throughout my career.
‘It’s not being a bad pro, it's not being a model pro either, I just like a night out on a Tuesday or Saturday. I think I should have been in the old era of football!
‘We had loads of parties, had a great time, but I think Jed was declining in the way he was playing.
‘As I wasn’t in the team, it was “Let’s go out again, Jed” – and he could never say no, he loves a party and loves a drink. When I left, he shone, he got his right ways back.
‘It was the best thing ever for him and me. Then again, there was a big drinking culture at Northampton and I fitted right in!
‘I don’t think the gaffer liked our personalities. I was a strong personality, while you could see Jed was developing a personality and Awford had obviously nurtured him from the youth team.
‘It was a bit school teachery, but, looking at it now, was the right thing to do.
‘Jed was one of the best players in League Two and I was dragging him right down.’
And he recalls an unsuccessful attempt to play him as right wing-back at the start of Pompey's 2014-15 season.
He added: ‘The 3-5-2 system being introduced didn’t help because Jed is a much better player than I was and always going to play as a number 10.
‘Putting me at wing-back doesn’t really work, I kind of understood that.
‘I was out of my depth. We tried it in a home game against Northampton and I was okay, then I went to Oxford and was dragged at half-time because I was going to get sent off.’
TOMORROW: Pompey team-mate David Connolly was scary – but the best player I’d ever seen at the time.
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