JAMAL LOWE has returned – older, wiser, more improved.
And, by his own admission, no longer reckless in his footballing approach.
When I was younger there was literally zero filter on what I was going to do, which is probably why I had to come out of the Football League to educate myselfJamal Lowe
Pompey have handed the forward a second opportunity at cracking the Football League following a four-year absence.
Nurtured through the Barnet youth system, it’s a grounding Lowe believes has proven crucial in the readjustment to full-time football.
The 22-year-old has impressed in his seven Pompey outings so far, the most recent a 22-minute cameo in place of the injured Kal Naismith against Grimsby on Tuesday night.
Lowe is revelling being back in League Two having racked up lashings of goal-getting experience following a non-league sabbatical which began with loan spells from Underhill.
More importantly, he is convinced he’s a better player than the one which left the Bees for St Albans City in January 2015.
He said: ‘I started off at Barnet as a 16-year-old and played 14 games before dropping out of it and doing the non-league circuit.
‘I think that helps, coming back into the Football League wasn’t much of a shock, I have done it before and was five years younger so, if anything, I should have got better, stronger and wiser.
‘Before I was not fearless, but reckless.
‘When I was younger there was literally zero filter on what I was going to do, which is probably why I had to come out of the Football League to educate myself.
‘It was one madness or the other, I’d dribble the whole of the pitch or give it away on halfway line and opposition have gone and scored.
‘The time away helped me, it made me more mature.
‘I played games week in, week out with fully-grown men who’d had a bad day at work and wanted to take their anger out on someone – and the easiest ones to do that to was young kids like me!
‘League Two centre-halves are a little less aggressive than non-league centre-halves which is a good thing, but they are also smarter and their positioning is better. It’s a balance.
‘I have to be more tactical. If I am going to progress in my game then I cannot keep being reckless.
‘I must become a mature player who knows when to pass and knows when to dribble, I have to find that balance and keep it going.’
Before his Pompey arrival earlier this year, Lowe’s most recent League Two outing had been defeat at Morecambe in November 2012.
The Bees were relegated from the Football League that season, with the forward subsequently enjoying loan spells at Hemel Hempstead and St Albans before remaining in non-league permanently.
Yet he has been surprised by one aspect upon his comeback – Fratton Park.
He added: ‘It was not a shock or intimidating returning to this level, although I would say the main difference is Fratton Park!
‘I had never before played there and used to think 1,500 at a Barnet game was a big crowd! What on earth was I thinking.
‘To come to a game at Fratton park you think “Oh my goodness, this is a completely different world”.’