What’s his best role? Chaplin’s just happy to play

Conor Chaplin. Picture: Joe Pepler

Conor Chaplin. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pat Neil. Picture: Keith Woodland

Pompey family turn out in force for ex-player

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CONOR CHAPLIN is still unsure what’s his best position.

But the striker underlined he’s happy to do a job wherever he’s needed by Paul Cook.

Chaplin continued the build-up for the new campaign with a 69-minute outing in Saturday’s 2-1 loss at Sutton United.

The 19-year-old operated up front in a 4-4-2 formation with Curtis Main, who made also made his first Pompey start.

Chaplin has also played as solo striker in a 4-2-3-1 approach in the warm-up games so far.

Cook is keen to utilise Chaplin as an out-and-out striker which he feels suits his predatory instincts.

But the Academy graduate explained he doesn’t know if that or a more withdrawn role is ideal for him.

Chaplin said: ‘I was never an out-and-out striker, and, to be honest, I don’t know if I see myself as one now.

‘I don’t know where I see myself playing. I’m just happy to be play where I play.

‘When I was younger I played left wing or right through to about under-14s.

‘Then it was probably under-16s when I started playing as a number 10.

‘That was my favourite position at the time, but then in the last two years of my scholarship I started playing as a number nine and 10.

‘I’m not a winger. Nine or 10 are my positions.’

Chaplin failed to add to the three goals he’s picked up in pre-season on Saturday.

He underlined it’s all about building fitness, however, at this time of the year.

And Chaplin feels the campaign will have started by the time he reaches the levels he’s looking for.

He said: ‘It’s always nice to score goals but we all know these games are for - match practice.

‘The ball’s haven’t been out an awful amount as we try to get the base fitness back into our legs. That’s the main thing at this point.

‘I’m feeling good, but I think you need five or six league games to be really up to speed and be 100 per cent.’

Chaplin told how he has been working hard across the summer to ensure he is ahead of the game in pre-season.

Despite some believing he has bulked up since the last campaign, his focus has been on building explosive power in his running.

He said: ‘I’ve always been one to work hard in the gym because I’m a little lad.

‘If I didn’t do that I’d get battered and bruised.

‘But I did one leg weight circuit and that’s it.

‘I like working in the gym but it’s more about lifting weights and being explosive.

‘It’s about those five or 10 yards and having that power - that’s what my gym programme is geared towards.’

– JORDAN CROSS

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