Jackett: Plenty of leaders in young Pompey squad

Christian Burgess is a leader for Pompey. Picture: Joe Pepler
Christian Burgess is a leader for Pompey. Picture: Joe Pepler
Oli Hawkins has impressed in defence and in attack for Pompey. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey boss: I’m open-minded over Hawkins’ best role

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Kenny Jackett insists Pompey’s youthful side can cope with the demands of League One.

The Blues boss is adamant there is enough young leaders in the team for Pompey to stamp their authority in the third tier.

Veterans Michael Doyle, David Forde and Gary Roberts have all left Fratton Park this summer – all of who were in their 30s and had a wealth of experience under their belts.

As reported by The News, Pompey have agreed to allow Carl Baker, 34, to leave the club if the two sides can come to an agreement regarding his contract.

If Baker does depart, Drew Talbot – who amassed just five league appearances in League Two last season – will be the elder statesman of the current Blues playing squad aged 31.

First-team regulars Brett Pitman, Danny Rose and Gareth Evans are all 29 respectively.

If Baker leaves the south coast before tomorrow’s transfer window deadline, it will mean Pompey’s average playing squad is a tad shy of 24.

Adam May and Brandon Haunstrup, both 19, have been regular starters this term along with 21-year-olds Luke McGee and Jack Whatmough, while prized-asset Conor Chaplin is still just 20.

Despite the Blues’ youthful team, Jackett has challenged his fledgling talents to step up to the plate.

He said: ‘Maybe that will be the case (we will miss the experience) but the players have to be good enough to be in the team.

‘Young players sometimes play with no fear and, yes, when you are trying to develop a team from one division to another, there is a period where you are too young.

‘You then need to be strong enough and good enough.

‘Being young is only temporary in football. The wheels keep going round and the development of the team has to keep going.

‘Within that, players have to take the responsibility and they are capable of doing so.’

Doyle’s departure for Coventry in May meant Pompey’s captain’s armband was vacated.

Despite many people tipping Christian Burgess for the role, summer signing Pitman was given the duty with Evans employed as his vice captain.

Jackett also brought Nathan Thompson to the club as his first Pompey signing.

The 26-year-old had previously been Swindon Town skipper for before moving to Fratton Park.

Although the Blues’ squad is youthful, Jackett has identified plenty of leaders.

He added: ‘We have people like Burgess, Matt Clarke will be back soon and Nathan Thompson is to come in after returning from injury.

‘Even though Kal Naismith is 25 years old, it’s not as young (as you might 
think).

‘I do see the leadership angle, definitely, but for me, Burgess has been outstanding so far this season and Thompson is a good leader.

‘Despite being 20, Clarke can lead very well and then after that once you make the space, people have to step up.’