King hails young star Wallace after midfielder’s move to Pompey

STEVE KING has praised promising young footballer Jed Wallace after his move to Championship side Portsmouth – and said he always knew the midfield star was going to make the grade.

The teenage ace, who made a couple of appearances in a Lewes shirt during pre-season, has agreed a three-year contract with the 2008 FA Cup winners. And King said he was delighted with the Pompey boss’s pledge to bring down a full-strength side – which, the Lewes boss said, could earn the Dripping Pan outfit something in the region of £10,000 or more.

King said Wallace hadn’t appeared for the Rooks in the three league games Lewes had played before the deal was completed – on Saturday – because of understandable concerns about any potential deal falling through.

“He didn’t want to get injured,” said King, “and I completely agreed with that.

“And it was a bit drawn out because Newcastle came in for him last knockings.

“But he decided to go to Portsmouth because it was more close to home, it was a Championship with more chance of him progressing, and (Postsmouth boss) Steve Cotterill said he would be nearer to (making) the first team.

“It’s a good move for him; a three-year professional contract.”

King added: “Steve Cotterill said he’d bring a full first team down against us, and promote it on their website as a full squad. We could make 10 or 15 grand out of that.

“We’ve been quite lucky out of it. He wasn’t actually signed to our club, he wasn’t on a contract, so Portsmouth have been good to agree to pre-season against their first team. It could earn five figures for us.”

King raved about Wallace’s attitude as well as the 17-year-old central midfielder’s talent.

“He was still at our game yesterday (the Ryman Premier clash away to Horsham) with all the boys. He’s a good lad; it couldn’t happen to a nicer person.

“I always knew he was going to make it, and I told everybody that he would.”