Pompey grafters fire up Wallace

Jed Wallace. Picture: Joe Pepler
Jed Wallace. Picture: Joe Pepler

Jed Wallace has revealed the Pompey grafters he’s battling to emulate.

The Blues midfielder has pinpointed Gary O’Neil, Matt Taylor and Matt Ritchie as the men influencing his drive to become a Fratton success story.

Wallace explained he is fully aware it’s perspiration over inspiration which will make him a hit with supporters.

And he is determined to eat the miles for the cause, after inking a new three-year-deal in the summer.

The 20-year-old’s high-intensity work has been evident in pre-season.

That was the case against Bournemouth on Tuesday night, with Wallace grabbing a goal from the penalty spot against the Championship side as reward.

Wallace stated he has been told all about his predecessors and how O’Neil and Taylor’s endeavour made them heroes.

And he has seen how Ritchie bounced back from rejection by former Pompey boss Steve Cotterill to become a hit in England’s second tier with the Cherries.

Wallace said: ‘I’ve grown up here and been around the club for three years now.

‘I’ve realised there are many players here with a lot more ability than others.

‘They didn’t run around half as much as others and they weren’t half as popular.

‘I hear about people like Matty Taylor and Gary O’Neil who had half the ability of others.

‘But they ran around three times as much as others and they were three times more popular. These are people who have had great careers and are the people I aspire to.

‘That’s what you need in this league. You need hard workers and a bit of luck in this league.

‘Look at Matt Ritchie. He started here and it didn’t work out for him. He went down and back up again.

‘He was the best player on the pitch against us the other night. I’d say he’s unlucky not to be playing in the Premier League.

‘For young players coming through here like me, that’s the bridge I have to make.

‘In an ideal world I’d be playing in the Championships for Portsmouth in five years time.

‘Matt didn’t have the best time and took some hits.

‘Last season was a mini version of that for me.

‘The manager came in and told me to do what I do.

‘I got a bit of luck, got a goal and suddenly the confidence is in me.’

Wallace knows it’s critical to show willing for the cause in the coming months, to get the fervent backing Pompey fans want.

He said: ‘I know how important the crowd is to us. The boys from last year know how important the crowd is.

‘We saw that against Hartlepool last season.

‘The manager has stressed that to us. This is the hub of the club now.

‘At the end of the season everyone has jumped on board.

‘It’s important that we keep everyone with us.’