Thompson urged to learn from Pompey favourite

Pompey talent Dan Thompson. Picture: Allan Hutchings (122584-142)
Pompey talent Dan Thompson. Picture: Allan Hutchings (122584-142)
Pompey manager Kenny Jackett Picture: Joe Pepler

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Guy Whittingham urged Dan Thompson to use Benjani as his striking model to clinch a first-team future.

The Pompey youngster has joined up with Bognor for an initial month-long loan as his development continues.

It follows a two-month spell at Dorchester Town – where the 18-year-old scored twice in five appearances for the Blue Square Bet South outfit.

While fellow Academy graduates Jed Wallace, Dan Butler and Ashley Harris have all made the senior squad since the turn of the year, Whittingham doesn’t believe the likes of Thompson is ready yet.

Instead he wants the towering striker to learn his trade from Benjani, who is currently training with Pompey.

The veteran scored 20 goals in 94 games during two separate spells with the Blues – establishing himself as a long-time Fratton favourite.

And Whittingham believes Benjani’s presence can only be good news for Thompson.

The Pompey caretaker boss said: ‘Dan will not be going into the first-team squad yet because he needs some games and that is why he has gone to Bognor.

‘Obviously he is one in the development squad who, if the opportunity arose and we think he is doing well enough and he can handle it, then we will put him up.

‘There is no point putting him in the first team now because he hasn’t had enough games and he isn’t match fit.

‘But Dan also has to get a bit tougher if he is going to have a career. People started laughing about having Benji back – but Dan can learn from Benji.

‘It’s not just the physical power he has got, it’s the way he holds the ball up and the way he holds off defenders.

‘And that has been a good learning curve for Dan.

‘You look at him, he’s a nice kid and is probably too nice. He has to get tougher on the football pitch.

‘He will watch him in training and, not only that, we have made sure he has looked at similar footage of Benji as well.’

George Colson and Alex Grant have recently returned to Fratton Park following loan spells at Dorchester and Eastleigh respectively.

Meanwhile, right-back Elliot Wheeler is set to extend his stay at Bashley. The Isle of Wight talent has made five appearances for the New Forest club and impressed despite several minor injuries.

Whittingham said: ‘George will not go back to Dorchester.

‘There are a couple of clubs interested in him, so we want to get that sorted out quite quickly.

‘Alex has come back and we already have got a club looking at him as well, so he possibly can go out and get some matches.

‘With those players who haven’t had enough games, we need to make sure they go out and get some.

‘However, Elliot is staying with Bashley for a while.’