Burgess: Pompey defender has continued momentum

Christian Burgess lauded the continuing progress of Matt Clarke.

Monday, 8th January 2018, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 8th January 2018, 9:08 am
Matt Clarke has been in impressive form. Picture: Joe Pepler

But the former Peterborough United player wants to see his Pompey centre-back partner start demanding orders to his team-mates more often.

After missing the start of the season due to a hamstring injury, Clarke has become a key member of Kenny Jackett’s side following his return to full fitness.

The ex-Ipswich Town defender has started the Blues’ past 22 league games and has been a key player in their rise into the League One play-off places.

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Christian Burgess has praised his defensive partner Matt Clarke. Picture: Joe Pepler

Clarke’s impressive performances have also reportedly led to West Ham United and Brighton & Hove Albion keeping tabs on him.

Burgess has been impressed by the 21-year-old’s consistent improvement at Fratton Park.

And he insists the pair feel highly comfortable playing alongside each other in central defence.

Burgess said: ‘Matt has been really good this season.

Christian Burgess has praised his defensive partner Matt Clarke. Picture: Joe Pepler

‘He’s almost carried the momentum on from last season and continued to grow as a player.

‘He’s still only young and with games comes experiences.

‘Clarkey has had a fantastic run in the side and he’s improving with every game he plays in.

‘He’s very strong, comfortable in possession and has got a good left foot on him.

‘It’s great to have someone like him in the side.

‘We’re pretty comfortable with each other and know what to expect from each other.

‘I trust him very much in terms of when he has to deal with things.

‘Hopefully he trusts me when the ball is on my side of the pitch

‘It’s a good partnership to build on.’

After an initial loan spell, Clarke moved to Pompey permanently in summer 2016 from Ipswich as a makeweight for Adam Webster going in the opposite direction.

The Barham-born talent has made 93 appearances for the Blues having only turned 21 in September.

To continue his development, Burgess now wants Clarke to become more vocal in matches.

He believes that is a significant attribute for any centre-back to have in their locker.

Burgess added: ‘He’s good in the air, strong and is starting to read the game more and more now.

‘I just need to him start talking a bit more now, really, and demanding players around him and then he’ll be a top-quality player.

‘It’s hard to do that when you’re young to boss players around.

‘However, at centre-back it is a massive attribute to have if you do.

‘But that comes with experience and it also comes with games.

‘I’m still trying to get hold of myself as well, so it 
really does come with experience and a confidence of knowing where everyone should be.’