Wallace can become Pompey’s man in the middle

Jed Wallace in action against Brentford last term. Pitcure: Allan Hutchings (131018-381)
Jed Wallace in action against Brentford last term. Pitcure: Allan Hutchings (131018-381)

Guy Whittingham believes the signing of Ricky Holmes may remove the shackles from Jed Wallace.

Holmes can play anywhere across the midfield but Pompey are eyeing a key role for him on the right-hand side.

As a genuine wide player he offers something different to Wallace, who prefers the centre of midfield.

There were glimpses of what the teenager can give to Whittingham’s team when he was moved inside against Shrewsbury at the end of last season.

Wallace certainly laid claim to further opportunities in the middle of the park with his display in the second half of that fixture.

And Whittingham admits the arrival of Holmes now gives him the chance to switch the youngster.

He said: ‘We’ve signed a wideman in Holmes, so it might give Jed the chance to come inside.

‘I think Jed really enjoyed playing out there and I know in the last game of the season when we moved him central against Shrewsbury he made a big difference for us.

‘It’s one of those areas he possibly can play.

‘But I think he matured as a player playing wide.

‘His game improved, not as an out-and-out winger but as a wide midfield player.’

Wallace made the right-midfield spot his own after breaking into the side in the new year.

Aside from two appearances on the left, he was used in a wide-right role for the bulk of his 23 matches last term.

And the 19-year-old has been told he has to maintain those high standards if he is to stay in the side.

Whittingham added: ‘Jed has got to play well.

‘If he plays well, he will be in the team this season.

‘That is the most important thing through my football career – if I knew I was playing well, I would stay in the side.

‘If I didn’t go out and perform then I knew I ran the risk of losing my place.

‘And you don’t want to do that.’