Naylor's keen to keep up with the Portsmouth flow

Shielding the back four has been his main remit during Pompey's League One promotion push.

Wednesday, 2nd January 2019, 2:49 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 11:31 am
Tom Naylor. Picture: Joe Pepler

But developing his distribution is something Tom Naylor has been working on. 

The summer arrival has been a key player for Kenny Jackett's table-toppers this season.

He's featured in all but one league game, after being suspended for the 1-1 draw at Accrington in October. 

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Tom Naylor. Picture: Joe Pepler

Naylor's job in a defensive-midfield role is to police the engine room and break up opposition attacks. 

But the former Burton man has made marked improvements with his use of the ball, as he displayed in the first half of the New Year's Day win over AFC Wimbledon. 

And the 26-year-old puts that down to recapturing his composure when in possession. 

Naylor said: '˜I have been making improvements.

'˜Once I get the ball, I want to keep it going and keep the ball moving.

'˜I'm there to break things up. I am the shield for the defence and if I can do that week-in, week-out then I'm happy.

'˜But composure is something that is coming back into my game now.

'˜In the first half against Wimbledon, nobody was really around me and I was able to pick passes out to keep the ball flowing.

'˜The second half was a bit different when they got in our faces a bit, which was always going to happen.

'˜But we've got the players to deal with that and it's always nice to look up and pick a pass.

'˜Sometimes that's not always on but more often than not it is and the boys will get through and do the business.

'˜I've got two sides to my game and although I'm there to break play up I'll keep it moving as well.'

Last season the versatile Naylor primarily operated in a centre-back role for Burton.

Although he impressed for the Brewers, he couldn't prevent them from being relegated from the Championship.

Naylor turned down a new deal at the Pirelli Stadium to move to Pompey.

All but one of his 28 Blues appearances have been in midfield '“ and that's something the player is revelling in.

'˜Obviously, I've been a centre-half and I've played in midfield quite a few times,' added Naylor. 

'˜Now I'm playing in midfield week-in, week-out and I'm really enjoying it at the moment.

'˜Centre-half is a bit different to playing in centre midfield because you don't get much of the ball, really.

'˜But I'm really enjoying it in midfield.'