Dom Howson's Sheffield Wednesday column: Ross Wallace has proven a shrewd bit of business by the Owls
Being a winger is a tough gig in football.
The modern wide men are expected to efficiently defend as well as attack. Creating and scoring goals might have been enough in years gone by, but now they have to be able to drop back and cover the full-backs effectively when they bomb forward to feed the front players. Some are also capable of doing a job in the middle of the park.
You can’t get away with being one dimensional.
He has his critics, but Ross Wallace has proven to be an astute signing by the Owls. He cost Wednesday nothing and moved to Hillsborough with a point to prove.
Head coach Carlos Carvalhal is clearly a big admirer of Wallace’s qualities as nobody has figured more under the Portuguese chief than the 31-year-old. Wallace has featured in 84 of Carvalhal’s 94 matches in charge. Most of Wallace’s appearances have been as a starter and he has chipped in with 11 goals, including five in the last two months.
Wallace’s teammates recognise his contribution.
“Ross is doing very well and it is brilliant when a midfielder can chip in and help the strikers out,” said midfielder Barry Bannan.
Wallace took his goal tally to five for the season in Tuesday’s home draw with Burton Albion.
A jealous Bannan said: “I wish he could give me one! I don’t actually know how it went in; because I was ready to slaughter him for not squaring it to me...And then I see it hit the post and go in.
“Fair play to Ross; he has a lot of shots and has great quality in his left foot and he has shown that numerous times this season.”
Not every cross or shot Wallace tries comes off and it is rare that he outpaces a defender. He can be a frustrating figure but he never shirks a battle. He puts a shift in and plays to his strengths.
It would have been easy for Wallace to let negative thoughts creep into his head when Wednesday brought in Callum McManaman two months ago. Some people assumed Wallace would lose his spot in the starting line-up.
But it is testament to Wallace’s character that he refused to be deterred and upped his game...just as he did when the Owls captured Aiden McGeady last year. If anything, McManaman’s arrival has spurred Wallace on even more.
It seems that Wallace will always have his detractors. Some people prefer to focus on what gifts he lacks rather than the attributes he possesses.
All I know is Wallace is in good form and Carvalhal can rely and trust him to do a solid job within the team dynamic.