Yesterday Wigan Athletic announced the signing of 24 year old Reece Wabara. He has signed a short term contract to the end of the current season. He was a free agent, his contract at Barnsley having expired at the end of December.
The 5 ft 11 1⁄2 in defender was born in Bromsgrove and played at Walsall’s School of Excellence until joining Manchester City as a 15 year old. He became captain of the City under 16 team and progressed to become a regular starter in their Elite Development Squad. Wabara made a first team debut for City in the last match of the 2010-11 season, coming on a substitute for Pablo Zabaleta against Bolton Wanderers. He left City by mutual consent in April 2014.
During his time with City Wabara had loan spells at Ipswich, Oldham, Blackpool and Doncaster. He was to return to Doncaster on a short term contract after leaving Manchester City. He made 43 appearances for Rovers in 2014-15, before moving on to another short term contract at Barnsley, where he made 19 appearances.
Wabara clearly looks an excellent signing for Gary Caldwell who has been anxious to strengthen the problematic right back/right wing back position.
In order to learn more about Wabara we contacted the Doncaster Rovers unofficial twitter fan site (@Donny_Rovers).
Here’s over to them:
Football is in Reece Wabara’s blood; his uncle is the former Rangers’ icon Mark Walters. Unlike his uncle, Reece is more of an attacking fullback rather than an attacking midfielder. However, this hasn’t stopped him from posing a similar attacking threat. Furthermore, he is a very versatile player that has been deployed as a right-back, centre-back and even right winger during his time at Rovers.
The first time I saw Wabara play was actually for Oldham Athletic against my Rovers and on that day he was fantastic; marauding down the right, utilising his pace and strength to power past our left back on the overlap. Back then he was a young and raw footballer but nowadays his performances are more measured. Since his Oldham performance I have witnessed him playing over 50 times for Rovers, once on loan and once as a permanent signing. Despite his final ball being much improved and racking up a few assists, he still doesn’t have enough final product to be a championship level player, scoring only 2 goals in his entire professional career.
Although, I must admit he is definitely a decent acquisition at this level as he retains possession well and is good on the ball. Where Reece falls down most is defensively; as a one on one defender he is quite poor and his positioning is often questionable. Luckily, his blistering pace is a useful tool to have in these scenarios and I, myself, have witnessed him recover well from many predicaments he’s left himself in.
In terms of attitude, he seems like a genuine bloke and a hard worker that wouldn’t upset or destabilise the dressing room; then again, he didn’t endear himself to any Rovers fans when he slated the club’s ambition (having left us) in an interview for our South Yorkshire rivals Barnsley. So don’t be surprised if he doesn’t sign a long term deal at the end of the season.
All in all, I wouldn’t mind seeing him back at Donny, if it weren’t for his comments, because he is definitely a good squad player to have in this division. The reason I say squad player and not first team player is because against the top teams I’d be tempted to put in a more defensively minded player. Plus, who’s to say he won’t develop into an even better player than he already is as after all, he is only 24.