Pompey young guns eye happy 2013

Dan Butler is on loan at Hawks
Dan Butler is on loan at Hawks

They are Pompey’s young guns hoping 2013 will be their breakthrough year.

And Jed Wallace is backing his teenage colleagues to make that first-team impact.

Back in August, Plymouth in the Capital One Cup provided a glimpse of the Academy graduates.

Since then Wallace, Dan Butler, Dan Thompson, Elliot Wheeler and George Colson have experienced non-league football.

Alex Grant, who had been out for three months with a cruciate injury, last week followed suit to join Eastleigh on a month’s loan.

The on-going administration has conspired to deny all the chance to be part of the first-team squad again.

Yet with the Trust confident of seizing control of the club next year, that is poised to change.

And Wallace is confident the sextet will prove their worth, when the opportunity finally arises.

He said: ‘Last year we were disappointed with ourselves in the FA Youth Cup because we didn’t get too far.

‘Our starting XI was really good and we didn’t really do ourselves justice.

‘We’ve got some talented young players and hopefully can get the first-team chance next year.

‘Someone like Dan Thompson, I rate.

‘I first played against him in the West Sussex Premier League at the age of 11 and we have always been good friends.

‘He was about 6ft 9in when he was 12 and was on the right-hand side of midfield.

‘We were always against his team and one season they beat us 5-0, with Dan getting a hat-trick!

‘Against Gosport the other month he didn’t lose a header all game. With his back to goal he is so strong, his arms go everywhere and elbows go in your face. You cannot get near him.

‘George (Colson) is a tough-tackling midfielder.

‘He’s as brave as they come.

‘Considering his small height, he has actually scored a lot of goals with his head. But he scores a lot of goals overall.

‘Elliot is an attacking right-back who is fit and can get up and down all day.

‘He hurt his hand in a car accident earlier in the season but has recovered now.

‘Dan Butler is a freak. He just runs, he’s the fastest if we do long distance. He must have three lungs.

‘He also loves a tackle. I remember his first touch against Southampton last season, he scared the winger and snapped him in half!

‘Finally there is Alex, who is a left-footed centre half who is a massive guy and very strong.’

Wheeler missed that Home Park fixture through injury but the rest featured.

Pompey lost the first game of the season 3-0 but for Wallace it was still a moment for him and his young team-mates to treasure.

He added: ‘Plymouth was the best game I have ever been involved in, even though we lost.

‘There was no pressure on us, we could express ourselves, I thought we did so well in the second half. We played them off the park.

‘Everyone did themselves proud and we were buzzing on the coach. We would all love the chance to do that again.’

– NEIL ALLEN