Gerhard Struber's stinging assessment of Mallik Wilks's failings should be music to Hull City coach Grant McCann's ears

Mallik Wilks was not selected by Barnsley coach Gerhard Struber, who has loaned the forward to Hull City
Mallik Wilks was not selected by Barnsley coach Gerhard Struber, who has loaned the forward to Hull City
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Gerhard Struber has told Mallik Wilks he needs to learn the defensive side of the game after loaning him to Hull City.

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Given Grant McCann's far greater knowledge of what makes the Leeds United youth product, he is probably delighted by the parting shot.

Struber thinks the move will be good for Wilks, reuniting him with his former Doncaster Rovers boss McCann. The Austrian spoke of the “trust” between Wilks and McCann, which is apparently in complete contrast to the forward's relationship with Struber.

Only signed permanently by Barnsley from Leeds in the summer, Wilks did not play a single minute of senior football once Struber took over in late November. Although the coach was careful not to close the door on a forward who is still technically his, it would be a surprise were he to return to Oakwell permanently, particularly with the Tigers having an option to buy.

“I think it's a very good situation for him,” commented Struber. “The Hull coach is a very big fan of his and this is always very helpful for a player when there's a big trust between coach and player.

“Mallik is a player with a big talent but he must learn the game has four parts – on the ball, off the ball and the transition offensively and defensively. He must learn that always when we lose the ball we have to work together and we have to always stay in a structure when the opponent is on the ball because we have a task to do.

“At this moment I think other players have a bigger education than Mallik when it comes to the work they have to do out of possession.

“I hope he can learn these situations off the ball, grow up and improve his skills in this part of the game. Maybe, we will see in the summer, what is coming.”

Malik can expect far more love from McCann, who handed him a Tigers debut at Derby County's Pride Park on Saturday. The Northern Irishman should be delighted by Struber's comments judging by how he hopes to get the best out of the youngster.

“Mallik is coming here to work hard and prove a point – and we like that,” he said. “I just think he needs the right guidance and the right support.

“We gave him that at Doncaster last year and he excelled, so we’re hoping to try and do the same with him here at Hull City so that he can excel with us in the Championship.”