Pompey defender: My reckless tackling days are over

Pompey defender Nathan Thompson Picture: Joe Pepler

The Fratton faithful have been educated in Nathan Thompson’s bruising brand of tackling.

And the full-blooded right-back reveals his own learning process has ensured the removal of the red cards which used to punctuate his game.

I wear my heart on my sleeve and am a passionate player, if the opportunity is there to go and win the ball it is full-blooded

Nathan Thompson

Injury prohibited Thompson’s Pompey entrance until the start of September, with a substitute outing against Rotherham.

Since then he has been an ever-present starter in League One, amassing 10 appearances, while his all-action displays are establishing him as a fans’ favourite.

The 26-year-old’s thunderous tackling is an integral part of his make up – and a trait all too obvious during his emergence through the Swindon ranks.

He once totalled 29 bookings over three seasons, while in the 2014-15 campaign was shown the red card three times.

Even during his final year at the County Ground, Thompson collected 10 yellow cards in 34 league outings.

But he believes his game – and tackling – have matured to make him a more effective defender.

He said: ‘When playing centre-half you maybe don’t get the opportunity as much to put in those tackles, whereas on the touchline you can get tight on the winger which allows you a bit more space.

‘When I was younger I was probably a little bit more reckless and picked up my fair share of yellow cards, but you learn from that.

‘As you get more experience you know how to time it right when putting a tackle in and the effect it will maybe have on the winger.

‘I wear my heart on my sleeve and am a passionate player. If the opportunity is there to go and win the ball it is full-blooded.

‘I am not going to shy away from that, I make sure I time my tackles and it’s not to do the detriment of the team.

‘As a younger player, you were keen to impress and keen to make a challenge, probably at times when there was no need for it.

‘You’d give away fouls in positions that were dangerous and as you grow older you realise it was sloppy to make those sort of tackles, so you learn from those mistakes.

‘It is all about experience and knowing when is the right time to make those sort of tackles.’

Thompson has been booked twice in his opening 11 Pompey appearances and is expected to retain his right-back spot against Bradford tomorrow.

Jackett has spoken how that position is more suited to the summer arrival who represented the new boss’ maiden Blues acquisition.

Pompey had already made touch with the agent of the out-of-contract defender when Paul Cook was boss – and Jackett was keen to also pursue.

Now free from injury, Thompson is finally proving his worth.

He added: ‘I was so desperate to make a good first impression.

‘I had been out injured and it took longer than I would have liked, which was very frustrating. But, thankfully, we picked up a couple of good results when I got into the team.

‘And hopefully those first impressions have been good.’

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