Pompey boss: Chaplin is gifted – but has to be managed right

Conor Chaplin. Picture: Joe Pepler
Conor Chaplin. Picture: Joe Pepler
Samantha Quayle. Picture: Jordan Hampton

Flying start for Pompey with Cardiff swept aside

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Paul Cook is adamant ‘gifted’ Conor Chaplin possesses the talent to become a top player.

But Pompey’s boss has stressed the necessity of correctly managing the exciting teenage talent.

Chaplin conjured up one of the great Fratton Park goals in last weekend’s 4-2 victory over Wycombe.

At the age of 19, the forward has now scored 13 times in 54 appearances for the Blues.

A firm Fratton faithful favourite, there continue to be calls for a regular place in Cook’s line-up.

To date, Chaplin has started only six League Two matches under the Pompey boss.

He has every goal in his armoury that you need to be a top player, without a doubt. Conor will be a top player

Paul Cook

And with a trip to Accrington tomorrow, Cook continues to mull over the youngster’s potential inclusion.

He said: ‘Conor has played 54 games and is getting a fantastic start to his career.

‘However, the pressures of our club are there for every player who takes to the pitch and I don’t think an 18 or 19-year-old lad should have to shoulder that.

‘Having said that, Conor can, I don’t think it affects him, he is such a special talent it is untrue.

‘But the most important part is we do things right with Conor.

‘If you look at last week, when the sub had to be made on 26 minutes, it was Conor.

‘Accrington is a different game, a different challenge, and we have to make sure we look after him the right way.

‘I think the game will be very fiery for 50-60 minutes, so why would I want Conor to be involved in that when he might come on for the last half-hour with two opposition players already booked?

‘It is a good debate and a healthy debate.

‘He wants to start, he wants to play, our fans want him to play, my job is to manage everyone’s expectations.

‘Managing is a tough job sometimes, the easiest thing to do is give everybody what they want and pick everyone’s favourite player.

‘When you start doing that you might as well go and stand on the Fratton End.

‘Conor will start games for Portsmouth Football Club soon, whether that is tomorrow or not remains to be seen.

‘He has every goal in his armoury that you need to be a top player, without a doubt. Conor will be a top player.

‘He is a gifted young player – and we have to keep managing him correctly.’

Cook, however, was alarmed with the lack of television coverage for the striker’s Chairboys goal.

He added: ‘I don’t think the goal got near the credit it deserved, it is possibly the best goal I have ever seen.

‘I have probably seen a million goals in my life and it took my breath away. For a young boy to have that much knowledge in a flip second was flabbergasting.

‘From the chip, the awareness to know where the goal is and the confidence to head it – that should have been on Sky Sports all weekend.

‘Yet if you shoot from 30 yards and it goes in they show it every week.’