Bennett: Pompey striker's class attitude can take him far
Conor Chaplin's '˜different class' attitude will ensure he is propelled far in the game.
That is the verdict of Kyle Bennett, who is adamant his team-mate stands among the finest finishers he has seen at that age.
Chaplin registered a 15-minute hat-trick against the Hawks on Saturday in his maiden appearance of the current pre-season.
It was a timely reminder of the 20-year-old’s delicious talents in front of new Blues boss Kenny Jackett.
Bennett is now in his third campaign occupying the same dressing room as the Academy product.
During that time he has witnessed Chaplin continue to flourish.
And Bennett regards the striker and his irresistible talent highly.
He said: ‘Conor is a goal machine.
‘He scores from anywhere and produces different types of goals.
‘When I first stepped into the building, Conor was highly-spoken about. You could see why – and he’s getting better and better.
‘His finishing is among the best I have seen for his age, it’s incredible. He’s a natural goalscorer who always wants to score goals, whether it’s in training or in a match.
‘Conor’s attitude compared to a lot of 20 year olds I have seen growing up in the professional game is a different class. It is unbelievable.
‘He wants to work. He’s always in the gym and does things right.
‘With young lads it’s easy to get caught up in a cycle of just getting through it and passing by – not Conor. Credit to him, he doesn’t do that.
‘I was highly-rated myself when at Wolves but my attitude wasn’t as good as his and that is probably why I didn’t progress as people thought I would.
‘Conor is a different kettle of fish.
‘His head is firmly on his shoulders and his feet are on his ground.’
Since handed his debut as a substitute in December 2014 against Accrington, Chaplin has been a regular in Pompey first-team squads.
However, of his 89 appearances, only 20 have arrived as starts.
Nonetheless, the youngster from Worthing has scored 20 times for the Blues and established himself as a massive Fratton favourite.
He netted on eight occasions for the League Two winners last season, the most recent arriving as a spectacular equaliser at Barnet.
Now Chaplin will be hoping a change of manager will yield an increase in starting XI opportunities.
Bennett added: ‘Conor’s maturing, he’s becoming a man now, and if he gets his chance this season it won’t be a surprise because everyone knows how good he is.
‘The manager has faith in him and on Saturday he responded with a hat-trick to hopefully set him on the way to starting the season with all guns blazing.
‘The third goal with the first-time shot epitomises the kid, he never ceases to amaze.’