Whatmough revelling in fight for Pompey place
Jack Whatmough is revelling in Pompey's fierceÂ central-defensive competition.
The 21-year-old once againÂ finds himself vying with Christian Burgess to become Matt Clarke's centre-half partner.
Towards the end of last season, Whatmough received Kenny Jackett's nod to replaceÂ his team-mate for eight Â successive matches.
However, a groin problem forÂ the final two games opened the door for Burgess to return.
This summer, with Clarke the mainstay, Burgess started alongside him in Pompey's opening two first-team friendlies, with Whatmough in place for the next three.
And regardless of who is selected for next weekend's League One opener against Luton, it's a battle the Gosport youngster continues to relish.
Whatmough said: It's all healthy competition.
'˜The twoÂ playing want to do all they can to stay in the side, the one out of the side wants to get back, so it's like a cycle, it pushes the players playing and those not.
'˜It's difficult when you are out of the team '“Â but I think it's more difficult when you are in the team because you have to stay there.
'˜You work as hard as you can to get into the team, but you work doubly hard to stay there. You have that shirt and keep pushing and pushing and pushing.
'˜Burge is a brilliant player.Â HÂ e's hadÂ two or three years playing consistently well week in, week out, so that has been a test for me.
'˜When I was named in the side ahead of him last season heÂ dealt with it well. Some people go into their shell and go quiet, Burge isn't that character and I would like to say I'm not that character either
'˜If I'm not in the squad I am still a team player and will still be a characterÂ .'
FCÂ Utrecht visit Fratton Park tomorrow (1pm) in the final match of Jackett's pre-season campaign.Â
Whatmough added:Â '˜Pre-season is to prove a point and get into that starting line-up for LutonÂ .
'˜I know what I am capable of and the gaffer saw enough of me last year to know what I am capable of.
'˜It's not dog eat dog in a way because you want the club to do well.
'˜There is noÂ better competition than having two very good players in front of you. Not playing isn't something to beat yourself up about, it's learning from what they are doing '“Â it might be something missing from your own game.'