Modest Ben Close’s Portsmouth displays are shouting out his flourishing quality

Ben Close modestly shrugged off snowballing Pompey plaudits and insisted: I’m just enjoying myself.

By Neil Allen
Thursday, 7th March 2019, 2:56 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th March 2019, 4:05 pm
Pompey midfielder Ben Close Picture: Daniel Chesterton
Pompey midfielder Ben Close Picture: Daniel Chesterton

The 22-year-old is presently in the form of his Blues career, not that he’s interested in lending his voice to the growing chorus of approval.

Softly spoken and unassuming, the Southsea youngster remains humble when assessing his current first-team impact.

Yet spectators will testify that Close's current run of eight-successive appearances have seen his performance levels crash new heights.

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Pompey midfielder Ben Close Picture: Daniel Chesterton

The period has yielded an unlikely return of four goals in five matches, with just three having occurred in his previous 98 outings.

While despite his reticence to acknowledge, successive man-of-the-match accolades were last week handed over.

Unquestionably, Pompey are seeing the best of the flourishing former Priory School pupil.

Close said: ‘I had a big run in the team last year, I’m getting another one now so feel comfortable.

‘I think I’m doing well, but I’m not going to get complacent. The biggest thing is I’m really enjoying my football at the moment, so it must be going well.

‘I like leaving it to other people to decide how well I am performing, I don’t want to get too far of myself.

‘For me it’s just about getting another good week in training and hopefully another win in the league at Charlton.

‘If I’m enjoying it that’s enough for me, I don’t sit back and look at my displays too much, I just look forward to the next game, that’s how football should be.

‘It’s easy to sit back and assess your previous performances, but I don’t believe you can really do that because this is now, they have gone.

‘As enjoyable as they are and how great it is that people are talking about it, they have gone, now it’s all about Saturday.

‘Of course I get satisfaction from how I play, it makes your Saturday evening easier, your weekend nicer, it makes training easier for the team. You like talking about football if you are playing well and getting results.

‘For me, a player is only going to get better, improve and find good form after playing a run of games, I’ve had that this season now.

‘It has been a good few weeks –  and we need a big finish to the season.’

Perhaps it is overlooked that Close was a first-team regular in the Pompey side which reached the top of League One earlier this campaign.

From the moment of an October trip to AFC Wimbledon, however, Ben Thompson seized the midfield mantle and proved such an outstanding performer.

Now Close is back, producing his own eye-catching displays.

He added: ‘I was enjoying it at the start of the season, we had some good wins at Blackpool, Peterborough and Coventry.

‘Coming out of the team was tough, but I understand that is part of football. Ben Thompson coming in on loan created competition and was probably the best thing for Pompey.

‘Players have to understand competition is necessary for success, if you can’t handle that then you are in the wrong game.’