Date: 9th May 2008 at 1:00pm
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Hearts’ Lee Wallace has spoken of his frustration at being forced ot sit on the sidelines in recent times while perennial ‘bombscare’ Jose Goncalves continues to get a game at left back in his place.

Wallace, who is still amazingly only 20 years of age, has never quite been able to hold down a regular first team place for a number of reasons, but with the word on the street being that his current exclusion from the first team is purely because Goncalves is in the ‘shop window’, then it’s easy to understand his frustration.

He said:

‘That’s obviously the manager’s option regarding the selection of the defence. It’s hard when you’re watching, whether it’s from the bench, the stand or on TV. Everyone can see what’s going wrong and everyone makes defensive mistakes. We are all big enough and man enough to get on with things but it is hard watching it. The way we lost the goals on Monday against Falkirk made it hard to watch.

‘I’ve played regularly in little spells, four and five games at a time, but I haven’t had the best of seasons. I’ve been working hard on all the stuff you need to practise, even away from training. I’ve had a few decent performances but I feel I haven’t performed to my best. I’m looking at next season to try and improve.

‘When I’ve been left out I’ve just taken it as the manager’s decision, that’s all I have to understand. I’m disappointed not to be playing but happy that I’m still involved with the squad. You are always learning at this club, even sitting on the bench. I just need to fight to get my place back.

‘It’s all about doing well in training and showing what I can do. The manager knows what I’m capable of but if I do get my chance I’ll need to stay consistent. If I do that it’ll only help my case for selection. A lot of it is about concentration and taking my chance when I do play.’

Wallace is saying all the right things of course and that’s very commendable, but it’s clear that he does feel he should be getting more of a chance. Personally though, I’ve never seen him as being a left-back – I think he’s always looked more at home in the midfield area, whether it be wide left or in a deeper holding role, which he performed quite well a couple of times as a substitute when George Burley was the manager. But even still, I’d rather have him at left-back than Goncalves, who appears to be little more than an accomplished athlete who ended up in the wrong sport.

In order for Wallace to improve, he needs to be given a regular run of matches playing in the same position, which is not something that many players at Tynecastle have had the luxury of in recent times. Once again it all goes back to the managerial situation – if the man ‘in charge’ continues to be dictated to by the boardroom, then it’s difficult to see any of our young players blossoming into the players they have the potential to be, as somewhere along the line they’ll be treated poorly.

Wallace does have talent, and if it’s nurtured properly and he continues to show good attitude, we could still have a player here. But if the idea is to play Goncalves until a club comes in with a £2million+ offer for him, then I fear that Lee’s patience is about to be tested in the extreme…….!