Doncaster Rovers: Why spending lots of time managing on loan Leeds United forward Mallik Wilks is worth it according to Grant McCann

Mallik Wilks
Mallik Wilks

Grant McCann has made no secret of the time he puts into his management of Mallik Wilks but insists it is worth the effort when he delivers the sort of performance he put in against Portsmouth.

Wilks netted for Rovers in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Fratton Park as part of an excellent individual performance where he demonstrated his pace, power and drive.

McCann has revealed in the past that he speaks to the on loan Leeds United forward more than any other player in his squad.

But he insists if that is what it takes to bring out Wilks’ best, then it is worth the effort.

“He’s a confidence player Mallik,” McCann said.

“It's the week building into it that you can tell whether he's going to be at it or not.

“You can always tell.

“I’m starting to get to know him much better.

“He’s 20 years of age. He’s young, a young boy who needs nurturing during the week, taking in for private meetings, showing him his clips, individual steps.

“There’s a lot that goes into managing Mallik – but it’s worth it.

“When you see performances like the one on Saturday it's worth it.

“He can be whatever he wants to be. He's strong, direct, he can finish, left footed.

“We just need to get it out of him more often than not.”

Wilks has consistently delivered in big games for Rovers and appears to revel the attention of opposition supporters, which he received again at Fratton Park.

“He likes the big games, the big occasions,” McCann said.

“Whenever there is a big occasion he scores.”

Wilks was withdrawn at half time during the 2-2 draw with Burton Albion, after being well away from his best.

But McCann praised the forward for his reaction in the aftermath and bouncing back with an excellent performance against Portsmouth.

“The last game he played, I told him in meeting between me and him that I could have taken him off after ten minutes,” the Rovers boss said.

“I didn’t want to hurt his confidence.

“We know the reason why.

“But when he comes back and plays like that he's so hard to play against.”

Rovers U23s will host their Grimsby Town counterparts at Cantley Park on Tuesday in a 1pm kick-off.