Ertl’s pride in Pompey skipper’s role

Johnny Ertl in action at Walsall. Picture: Allan Hutchings (1330-595)
Johnny Ertl in action at Walsall. Picture: Allan Hutchings (1330-595)
Nathan Thompson. Picture: Sarah Standing

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Johhny Ertl has spoken of his pride in the Pompey captaincy.

The Austrian defender has been handed the armband by caretaker boss Guy Whittingham for the past two matches in the absence of both Brian Howard and Ricardo Rocha.

At the start of the season, the 30-year-old would have seemed an unlikely choice to lead Pompey as he struggled to force his way into the side.

But in recent weeks, the former Crystal Palace and Sheffield United man has won over some of his doubters with committed displays both in a midfield holding role and as a stand-in centre-back.

Now Ertl is determined to lead from the front for as long as he is asked to help drag Pompey out of their dismal spiral towards League Two.

He said: ‘When Guy asked me to lead the team out, it was one of the proudest moments in my career and it means a lot to me to be captain of this club.

‘I want to lead the team by example.

‘I try to show professionalism and want to show that we can achieve something together.

‘I was captain in my hometown club Austria Vienna. But it was a few years ago now.

‘You have that extra responsibility and you have to show that desire for the club.

‘But I enjoy that and I’m proud to do it any time I am asked.’

The former Austrian international’s contract expires at the end of this month but he is keen to extend his stay.

He said: ‘I feel that I’ve improved a lot and I really enjoy my time here.

‘My contract runs out at the end of the month.

‘It’s a fantastic club – I love it here.

‘It’s super support wherever we go and I hope the future of the club will be sorted soon.

‘As players, we get so much back from the fans and that is so frustrating that we can’t give the supporters anything back right now.

‘We talk all the time in the changing room that we need to do it for them but things are just not going for us right now.

‘Hopefully things will change.’

Ertl was left disappointed by Pompey’s latest defeat at Walsall.

He knows the winless streak of 14 games has to change quickly if the Blues are to have any hope of avoiding the League One drop.

He said: ‘It has to come to an end very soon. We conceded a sloppy goal and then couldn’t really get ourselves back into it after that.

‘Before the game we said “if we concede a goal, make sure we stay in the game”.

‘But I thought we started the game well, we had a good set-up and they didn’t really have a chance before that goal.

‘Then we conceded another one just before half-time and that was it.

‘But all of the lads showed a lot of courage in the second half.

‘We wanted to get something out of the game but it’s just disappointing again.

‘At 2-0, you never really know, if you can get one goal back but it didn’t go our way.

‘I think the body language was right.

‘There is another game coming up and we all know we need to get some points quickly.’