DAVID WOTHERSPOON is one of the most versatile players at Easter Road right now.
The 22-year-old has played in a host of positions for Hibs since his emergence into the first-team squad, featuring at right-back, on the right side of midfield and in the centre of the park under both the current manager Pat Fenlon and previous incumbents John Hughes and Colin Calderwood.
But former Hibs captain Pat Stanton believes that being pigeon-holed into the utility role has not necessarily worked in Wotherspoon’s favour and he would love to see the player given a place in the team that he can call his own.
In the last two matches, against Hearts and St Mirren, Wotherspoon has been handed a berth on the right side of midfield, and has provided an assist in each of those matches.
Stanton believes that if Fenlon persists with him in one role the club the supporters will continue to see the best of the Scotland under-21 star.
He said: “Any time you see him play, it is obvious that he has got ability and that he is a level-headed kid. But I think the fact he has been able to play one or two positions has not worked in his favour.
“It good for the team that they have got someone who they can rely on in a number of different roles but, if they were to put him in one position and leave him there for a period of time then I think that he would really come into his own.
“I watch Hibs quite regularly and I have seen him in two or three different positions, from right back to the right side of midfield. He’s a good player, so he is capable of doing a job in any of these positions, but I have to admit that I prefer to see him used more in midfield than in defence.
“Being played in a regular position and knowing that the manager has faith in you in that position breeds a lot of confidence and that can be vital, especially for a younger player.
“In the past I have seen young players who have maybe not had a good game, but the manager persists with him and shows faith in him because confidence is one of the most important things you can have.
“To me, David looks more comfortable in midfield than he does at the back and I would like to see him getting a run in there because I think that the supporters would see the best of him then.”
Along with holding down a regular starting place and definitive position in Fenlon’s 11, Stanton would love to see Wotherspoon become more vociferous in his approach to his team-mates.
The current Hibs side, while it has an experienced backbone, still has a number of youngsters running through it, and Stanton reckons that they will look to the likes of Wotherspoon for words of encouragement or cautionary advice during matches.
Stanton continued: “The thing about David is that he is now one of the more experienced players in the team. He’s still a fairly young boy, but he has played in teams that have been struggling and since big Rob Jones left there is no-one there who has been there to help the players around him.
“In the past we’ve had guys like Rob Jones and Franck Sauzee, and I think David has to try to fill the same kind of role.
“James McPake already does it and David should be looking to do it more because you can get advice to your team-mates a lot quicker than your manager can.”
Stanton believes that things may finally be starting to look up again for Hibs, who struggled at the foot of the table last season.
A draw in the first Edinburgh derby of the 2012/13 campaign was followed up at the weekend with a victory over St Mirren in Paisley and Stanton is now keen to see them build on that result.
This Saturday they take on St Johnstone at Easter Road, and Stanton says that it is even more important that they get all three points against Steve Lomas’s side.
“The Hearts draw and then the win over St Mirren were really positive results for Hibs, but the most important game right now is this Saturday against St Johnstone,” he added.
“If they can just get a win at Easter Road this weekend it suddenly makes the last two results look even better.
“There’s no use in getting decent results in those two games and then throwing all of your hard work away in the next one.
“It is the results against teams like St Johnstone that will really determine how your season is going to pan out.
“The manager will be well aware of that. These last two games have gone – they’re history. It’s all about your next game.
“The fans are just waiting. They are desperate to back their side – they just need the team to come out and give them something to shout about.”