Pompey man relishing new role

Pompey winger Kyle Bennett Picture: Shaun Boggust

Kyle Bennett is relishing the opportunity to reinvent himself at Pompey as a number 10.

And he has revealed the role is far from unfamiliar territory.

Then, for some reason, somebody decided “Nah, get yourself on the wing, you are too small”

Kyle Bennett

The reshuffle prompted by Brett Pitman’s knee operation has seen Bennett occupy the position behind the striker in the Blues’ past two matches.

Nearly all of his 106 Pompey outings have been spent serving on the left of an attacking three.

However, the 27-year-old has previous experience of operating in the hole, stretching back from days as a Wolves trainee and at England youth age groups.

And Bennett is confident he can make an impact under the new remit delivered by Kenny Jackett.

He said: ‘I have played there quite a number of times and do enjoy it.

‘It’s a different role to that I’ve played in probably the last three or four years, but at Doncaster I did it a little bit in League One when we went up.

‘When I was younger, everyone at Wolves told me that the number 10 was my position – and everyone with England. That was always my position, they saw me as a 10.

‘Then, for some reason, somebody decided “nah, get yourself on the wing, you are too small”.

‘So I got chucked on the wing, but I do enjoy it out there.

‘I have played almost all my football at Pompey out left, but I like to think I know the 10 role well.

‘It’s a little bit different to what I’ve been used to, but the manager likes me there – and I like playing there.’

Bennett was asked to operate behind Curtis Main in the Checkatrade Trophy clash with Crawley.

That resulted in a 3-1 victory – and both retained their spots for Sunday’s League One trip to Gillingham.

With Pitman (knee) and Conor Chaplin (hamstring) still sidelined by injury, the pair are once again in the frame for MK Dons’ visit this weekend.

And Bennett enjoys the extra freedom associated with the positional change.

He added: ‘With a wider role, everyone plays it differently.

‘Matty Kennedy likes to stay out wide, take his man on and cross it, whereas I play more as an inside player.

‘Out there it’s another line of defence to beat, whereas when you play as a number 10 you are in a position where if you go past one man you are actually in on goal.

‘You can come short and run in beyond. As a winger, sometimes if I’m running behind I’m still by the corner flag, whereas as a number 10 you are running towards the goal and are a bit more central.

‘It’s a role that gives you a bit more freedom, although sometimes if their midfield is taking over you have to drop in and help out, doing a bit of defending and not making so many runs forward.

‘For me, sometimes it’s natural to come back anyway, you don’t think about, it’s impulse.’

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