Patience needed to let young Pompey pros finish journey

Mark Kelly urged patience over the future of Pompey's young pros.

Sunday, 9th April 2017, 6:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:51 pm
Pompey Academy graduate Jack Whatmough. Picture: Joe Pepler

The Blues Academy boss believes a long-term view needs to be taken when it comes what lies ahead for the wealth of talent at Fratton Park.

A dozen senior players are out of contact this summer.

Among them are Ben Close, Brandon Haunstrup, Calvin Davies, Jack Whatmough and Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain, who have all come through the ranks.

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Kelly stressed the importance of allowing players with bright futures to fulfil their potential with Pompey.

He said: ‘There’s a key issue here.

‘I think a lot of it is about patience and time. They’re very important.

‘We have to make sure the process of them going out of the door too early doesn’t happen.

‘There’s short-term planning and long-term planning. The key element we have to understand is there has to be a pathway.

‘Otherwise, we are going to make snap decisions on a short-term basis – but actually it’s a long-term process.

‘It can be a snap decision at the moment that it doesn’t suit where we are. That’s a short-term fix.

‘We need a long-term plan.

‘If it doesn’t fit now, it doesn’t mean it’s not right for the club.

‘You need to be in for the long haul with these kids.

‘There’s a right time and a wrong time to do things. We have to be very careful of when those right and wrong times are.’

Kelly highlighted Matt Ritchie and Joel Ward as examples of players who left Pompey prematurely.

He feels they are a cautionary tale which needs to be heeded.

Kelly said: ‘We’ve seen it. We’ve seen it with the Matt Ritchies and Joel Wards.

‘Somebody made that decision on Matt Ritchie because he didn’t suit that person. But it’s not about that person.

‘Matt Ritchie should have been here, developed and gone all the way through. That’s the long-term plan.

‘Don’t get me wrong, he may not have stayed but he would’ve gone through the process.

‘Look at Jack Whatmough. Jack’s never changed in the way he is.

‘We know the qualities Jack’s got.

‘When he first burst on to the scene, I was sat in the stand and there were agents at big clubs coming in and asking about him.

‘He’s had injuries, though, and you have to accept that’s part of his journey.

‘It’s their journey but their journey is under the guise of Portsmouth Football Club – and that has to continue.

‘The shortcomings to thinking the other way is you get people like Joel Ward and Matt Ritchie leave the club.’