Pompey system switch would be fine by Whatmough

Jack Whatmough believes he is capable of playing in a back-three partnership in defence for Pompey next season.

Monday, 5th June 2017, 11:30 am
Updated Tuesday, 13th June 2017, 3:36 pm
Jack Whatmough and Conor Chaplin. Picture: Joe Pepler

And the 20-year-old admitted the club is taking giant leaps forward after several years of pain.

Whatmough committed his future to the Blues on Tuesday by signing a two-year contract extension.

He joined Gareth Evans, Kyle Bennett and Ben Close in staying at Fratton Park.

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The central defender racked up 12 appearances for Paul Cook’s side last season and helped Pompey capture the League Two title.

Whatmough is regarded as one of the club’s brightest young prospects with some fans touting him as a future Blues captain.

Cook’s favoured centre-back partnership throughout the 2016-17 season was Christian Burgess and Matt Clarke.

The pair were the rocks at the back as Pompey kept 19 clean sheets.

Whatmough was increasingly used off the bench towards the end of the season as Cook looked to protect precious leads.

The former Blues manager occasionally switched to three centre-backs and it proved successful.

Whatmough reckons the change of system worked well was because of the relationship he has with Clarke and Burgess.

Although the Gosport defender recognises he has to leapfrog one of them to gain a regular spot in the line-up.

He said: ‘It’s about waiting for an opportunity to knock one of them out (of the team) or to play in a back three.

‘We all know each other very well and the back three was quite easy to go into it.

‘It was a role I enjoyed playing in.

‘Burg is the experienced one and both on and off the pitch he’s good to learn off.

‘He’s a great example and a great boy.’

Whatmough has been at the club since the age of 12.

At 15, Michael Appleton was forced to draft the defender into the first team for the Blues’ league cup first-round clash against Plymouth.

The Academy graduate and Pompey fan has seen the highs and lows at Fratton Park in the past decade.

Whatmough has remained loyal despite their drop from the Premier League to the fourth tier.

Conor Chaplin and Close have also stayed committed, with the former also signing up for an extra year.

The Blues are now back on the right track after securing promotion.

Michael Eisner’s takeover is also set to add much-needed financial stability.

With the good times rolling at Fratton Park once again, Whatmough believes things are on the up.

‘Conor Chaplin, Ben Close and the boys who come from the academy have been there when things weren’t going so great,’ he added.

‘It’s now a massive step forward.

‘It’ll be nice to keep developing with the current squad that is there now.

‘Ben and Conor are boys I’ve been playing with since I was 12.

‘It’s building memories with them and it’s nice to be a part of it with them.’