Utaka had brilliance in his locker but we definitely never saw the best of him during his time at Fratton

Benjani
Benjani
Sian Crips, Georgia Perry and Abi Robinson, from Oaklands School, Waterlooville, celebrating their A-level results. Picture: Habibur Rahman PPP-170817-140116006

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Did we ever see the best of John Utaka?

I’m afraid all the evidence shows that we never did, and, at £7m, he was a very poor piece of business.

Utaka, or Uslacker as many people came to know him as, never performed to a consistent level in his time at Pompey.

He was either very good or very poor and his record of one goal in every eight starts suggests it was the latter, most of the time.

He scored just three goals this season, despite operating at a lower level in the Championship.

The frustrating thing was he had the ability to deliver brilliance. It was definitely in his locker.

Okay, it’s impossible to play at your maximum in every game but his level was not good enough.

I always thought his best position was out wide rather than a striker.

He might give you pace in behind but a front man needs to be able to hold the ball up as well – and Utaka was incapable of doing that.

You can draw a comparison between Utaka and Benjani.

Benjani had less skill and ability than Utaka but what he had was commitment.

Benjani always played with heart and that was why the fans took to him over someone like Utaka.

If you are struggling to perform but are working hard and putting in 110 per cent, Pompey fans will forgive that.

Utaka never gave himself that breathing space.

There were flashes of greatness in his time at Pompey, just nowhere near enough.

That’s why he will always been seen as a failure when people look back at his career here.

Now he will need replacing by the transfer deadline at 11pm tonight.

At least Pompey will be able to look at using some of the wages his departure frees up.

It’s clear we need someone at the back as well as an attacking player, too.

In fact, we probably need bodies in all positions.

The signings will tell us a lot about what Steve Cotterill is trying to achieve.

Is he just looking to get a few bodies in to keep us in the league now – or is he looking beyond that?