The other arrival on the day that Fred came home, David Wheeler becomes our most senior signing of the summer – at a whopping 28 years old. What is going on around here?
A workhorse right-sided midfielder/winger with an excellent eye for goal – he banged in 39 in 171 games for Exeter, including a beauty in the League Two play-off final (0:37 below) – Wheeler moved on a free for QPR, who he joined in August 2017. Things didn’t work out for him at Loftus Road or during a loan spell at Portsmouth in the first part of last season, but he made quite an impact in his later stint with MK Dons and scored the goal which secured promotion for Paul Tisdale’s side on the last day. Reaction from their supporters suggests that they would have loved him back.
Injuries have disrupted Wheeler’s career somewhat, but he’s able to do some real damage when he gets going. Superb in the air despite not being a towering presence, there’s an element of Paris Cowan-Hall to him in that respect. He proved more than a match for most of the League Two full-backs he came up against in 2018/19. I’ve been told by one of a number of adoring Exeter fans that he “leaps like an absolute salmon” – not just any old salmon, then. Also able to play right-back if required, he could prove to be a useful utility man. At MK, he was deployed as a second striker, on the right of a front three, and in the centre of the park.
Openly political, away from football, our latest recruit is an ambassador for London Sports Trust – a charity helping disadvantaged Londoners in a variety of ways through sport – and Make Votes Matter, a movement for Proportional Representation. Oh, and he’s got a sports science degree to his name. An intriguing career after football potentially awaits.
On and off the pitch, Wheeler appears to be the quintessential Ainsworth player. There’s a lot to like already.
Quick Facts & Stats
Born: 4th Oct 1990 in Brighton
Former clubs: QPR (2017-2019), MK Dons (loan, 2019), Portsmouth (loan, 2018-2019), Exeter, Staines Town, Lewes
Professional record: 217 appearances, 47 goals | Debut: 3rd Aug 2013, Exeter 2-1 Bristol Rovers (League Two) | Last appearance: 4th May 2019, MK Dons 1-0 Mansfield (League Two)