Express & Star

Jed Wallace aims to star for West Brom as he targets Premier League push

Jed Wallace is very clear when it comes to his aims and ambitions.


For years now the forward has been regarded as one of the best players in the Championship.

But while he was shining for Millwall, he watched as other players went on to leave the second tier and dazzle in the Premier League.

Manchester City’s Kalvin Phillips, West Ham’s Jarrod Bowen, Chelsea’s Mason Mount and Wolves skipper Conor Coady have all spent time in the Championship in recent years.

And for Wallace, those players now serve as a source of inspiration.

To follow in their footsteps, of course, he has to reach the Premier League. But that is why he joined Albion – with the 28-year-old adamant the Baggies have what it takes to win promotion this year.

“I wanted to have the best chance to play in the Premier League, and with this group of players and this manager I’ve got a great chance,” said Wallace, who turned down multiple other offers to head to The Hawthorns.

“Me and the manager spoke at length and I know that I will play well under him and I will suit the way he wants to play. He has had a lot of success in the division before.

“And I’ll be honest, the signing of Swfity (John Swift) was a huge show of intent and another reason why I wanted to join. I think everyone in the Championship probably sat up and took note at that point.

“Historically if you come to West Brom you’ve got a great chance of being promoted. And that is what we are determined to do.”

Albion finished 10th in the Championship last season – their lowest league finish for 20 years. But Wallace is very confident that season was a one-off.

“It was one season, there was a change of manager,” he continued. “But you only have to look at the squad, the track record of the club and the manager now to see the ambition. The addition of Swifty as well made it a no-brainer.

“I want the opportunity, I’ve worked my way, 10 years ago I was on loan in non-league.

“But I’ve played with the likes of Steve Morison (ex-Norwich striker) who had the same journey and played in the Premier League. That is what my eyes are on.”

Wallace doesn’t just want to get to the top flight, he wants to thrive there – like his pal Coady, who he played with at Wolves.

“There has been a bit of banter there,” Wallace said, when asked about his friendship with Coady. “He has done really well and is a great guy. He will be a noisy neighbour.

“He has gone on to prove he is good enough for the Premier League. But you never know if you’re good enough until you get the opportunity. I think countless players have shown that, some of best players in the Premier League have spent the past three or four years playing in the Championship.

“An attacking player like myself can look at the likes of Bowen and Mount, who have stepped up and shown their quality. That is something I aspire to do.”

A man with strong opinions on the game, Wallace was meticulous when it came to picking which club he was going to join this summer.

The former Portsmouth man is on record as saying he prefers to be part of a team that plays with a back four.

And when last season finished, Bruce made it clear he wanted to drag Albion away from playing with three centre-halves.

That was another factor in Wallace opting to join Albion – as well as the chance to work with coaches Steve Agnew, Stephen Clemence, Alex Bruce and James Morrison.

“I spoke to him (Bruce) a lot about tactics and how we were going to set up,” he said.

“That is important. And I know among the players he is very popular – along with his staff.

“Agers, Alex, Clem, Mozza – a club legend – they are people I can learn a lot from.

“I’ve still got a lot more learning to do, I’ve been at Millwall a long time but here there are a lot of players I can learn from who have played hundreds of games in the Premier League.

“It’s an exciting time for me. A big move for me and my family. But I feel it’s a challenge that I would regret if I didn’t take it and if I’d stayed in my comfort zone at Millwall.

“I haven’t got a bad word to say about Millwall, I owe them a lot. I just felt it was the right time to take that chance.”

Wallace is now ready to embrace life back in the West Midlands.

“I’ve moved back and I’m viewing schools for my kids,” he added.

“We got married three weeks ago and now we’re ready for the next stage in our lives. That’s West Brom.

“It’s the next chapter in life for me and my family so I’m going to give it all I have.

“I’m going to commit everything to the area and to my football and hope we can achieve what have set out.”