DOM HOWSON: The kid talent who has to make it in a man’s world

Blackpool v Sheffield Wednesday.....FA Cup 4th Rd....Owls Liam Palmer beats Chris BaSHAM
Blackpool v Sheffield Wednesday.....FA Cup 4th Rd....Owls Liam Palmer beats Chris BaSHAM
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MY INITIAL reaction after hearing Liam Palmer had joined Tranmere Rovers on a six-month loan deal was: “That’s a good move for him. It could be the making of the kid.”

Except Palmer is not a kid anymore. He turns 21 in September.

Born and bred in Worksop, Palmer has made just 16 starts at Hillsborough since making his debut in 2010 and has not featured under Dave Jones. In fact, he hasn’t figured since Sheffield Wednesday were thumped 3-0 by Blackpool in the FA Cup.

The arrivals of Diogo Amado and Nejc Pecnik have seen Palmer fall further down the pecking order in the battle for a midfield starting spot.

Now at Prenton Park under the watchful eye of Ronnie Moore, Palmer is looking to reignite his stalled career.

“All you want to do as a player is play football so I’m thankful for Tranmere giving me the opportunity,” he said. “There was going to be a lot of competition for places (at Sheffield Wednesday) and I need to get a good run of games so I can get that experience, and hopefully, learn my trade.”

Perhaps Palmer’s versatility has harmed his hopes of cementing a regular place in Wednesday’s side. He has depolyed at right-back, on the ring wing and in the middle of the park.

Perhaps the pressure of performing in front of 18-25,000 people at Hillsborough every other week has weighed heavily on the academy graduate’s mind. Perhaps, as someone who has come through the ranks, Palmer has tried too hard. Only Palmer will really know why, as of yet, he has not quite fulfilled his true potential.

For some reason, Palmer has struggled to take the form he has shown in training into the matchday environment. It was something ex-Owls boss Gary Megson regularly pointed out.

“Liam is a talented lad,” he acknowledged. “He can be scintillating in training, absolutely top drawer.

“I’ve seen him quite a lot of times not do at Hillsborough what he does on the training ground.

“I know he’s a young lad but this is a big boys’ club.”

Time is running out for Palmer to impress Wednesday’s hierarchy. The Scotland under-21 international’s contract expires in the summer of 2013. In more ways than one, it is a big year for the young man.