Butler backed to keep up quality Pompey service

Dan Butler. Picture: Joe Pepler
Dan Butler. Picture: Joe Pepler
Luke Leahy is congratulated for his opener Picture: Joe Pepler

Whitney: Walsall were the better side at Pompey

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Jed Wallace is convinced Dan Butler can carry on blossoming in Pompey’s left-back berth.

The 20-year-old has dislodged Nicky Shorey from Andy Awford’s side to maintain his promising development this term.

The Isle of Wight youngster has made 14 appearances and was crowned man of the match in the last Fratton Park fixture against Morecambe.

Defiant Butler has stormed back from the disappointment of not playing for the Blues after the first two matches of last season.

And fellow Academy graduate Wallace is convinced he is in the first team to stay.

‘The manager and everyone in the stadium knows what you will get from Butts – he will run through brick walls for the football club. He’s a good friend of mine I have grown up with and it’s great to see him playing so well,’ said Wallace.

‘He has the best left-back I have ever played with at the club in Nicky Shorey to learn from – an England international – and Butts has shown he has taken little bits from him.

‘Whenever he has come into the team with Nicky’s guidance he has been absolutely fantastic.

‘He’s just so fit, he gets up and down – but he has had to be patient.

‘The difficult thing here is young lads like me and Butts broke into the first team together, played a lot of games in a row and sometimes you just expect to play.

‘But that is not always the way for young lads. He has gone out, worked really hard on loan at Aldershot and is always on the training pitch and always in the gym.

‘You can see his fitness, it’s ridiculous, up and down the left flank all the time, so I am delighted.

‘He’s a fantastic lad and is obviously representing the Isle of Wight.

‘Butts is claiming he’s the fifth most famous there after Shaun Cooper and all that lot!

‘He’s got a reputation to keep up, that’s for sure!’

Butler made his Pompey debut under Michael Appleton in the opening game of the League One 2012-13 season.

He went on to feature in 14 of the last 17 matches at the end of the campaign under Guy Whittingham.

After starting at left-back for the first two games of the following season, he was loaned to Aldershot Town, where he suffered a knee injury.

Now the youngster – who is out of contract this summer – is back in the team and has been one of the bright spots of this season.

Wallace added: ‘The challenge for him now is to stay in the team – as it is for everyone.

‘The manager has made changes in the past and if we don’t play well, myself included, Craig Westcarr, Liam Robinson, players who expect to play, then you don’t play.

‘We have competition for places.

‘The squad is big for a reason. It is tough for the manager to pick a side.’