Don’t expect to see Brad Walker pitch up on I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!
But don’t think he couldn’t do it - if he can keep two of League Two’s most dangerous strikers quiet a few rats and spiders are not going to scare him.
Sometimes certain players are better when they see everything in front of themDAVE JONES
No, the Hartlepool United midfielder could be about ‘to do a Wayne Bridge’ according to boss Dave Jones.
Walker has been moved back into defence and was man of the match in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Plymouth Argyle at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium.
Bridge, most recently seen in the ‘jungle’ on ITV’s big television ‘game’ with Ant & Dec and company, is one of Jones’s greatest masterstrokes.
When he was manager at Southampton, Bridge was one of the bright talents on the books at the Dell, where he began as a teenage striker and then left-winger.
But after Jones switched him to left-back, the local-lad-made-good never looked back.
Bridge enjoyed some career, winning the Premier League and FA Cup with Chelsea and the small matter of 36 England caps.
Before mocking Jones, he was not comparing Walker and Bridge on ability levels, just the concept that the Billingham lad may just have discovered, admittedly by accident, his rightful position.
“It does reminds me a little bit of Wayne Bridge,” said Jones, who spent three years at Southampton.
“He was a winger but we moved him to left-back because we felt he would see more of the picture in front of him, rather than with his back to play.
“He didn’t do too badly did he in his career?
“I’d like to think I’m good at changing players around.
“I once changed a keeper into a centre-forward and he ended up playing international football!
“Sometimes certain players are better when they see everything in front of them, instead of receiving it with their back to play.
“Midfielders have to do that, maybe for Brad he sees more in open play.
“Only time will tell, that was only his second game.
“But from what we’ve seen, it’s bringing the best out of Brad, he’s doing really well.”
That quote is something of an understatement.
Walker was switched to defence last Tuesday after just 14 minutes at Luton when the score was 2-0 to the Hatters and Danny Hylton running riot. The 18-goal striker, one chance aside, was then kept firmly in check by the stand-in cente-half.
Fast forward to Saturday.
With Pools struggling for experienced defenders, in stepped Walker again, with Ryan Taylor leading the line for Plymouth.
The forward, with a few goals behind him this year, left the Vic empty-handed.
It took a wonder goal from Matty Kennedy to gain the promotion-chasers a point.
Walker was excellent at the heart of the defence, as was his partner, Scott Harrison, who looks a man re-born.
“You can see the confidence,” said Jones. “I think the two centre-backs were outstanding, one of them it was his second game there!
“They looked mobile, looked athletic, again I thought the two centre-backs got stronger, even when they were throwing big men on.
“They still won their headers and tackles.
“It show you what Brad’s capable of but he’s got to continue that.
“I just think whether by luck or desire or whatever you want to say, I’ll say it’s by good judgement [he laughs at this point], we might just have found a player that’s good there.”
Walker has Bridged the gap, if you pardon the pun.