Appy: Rekik’s not backwards in charging forward

Karim Rekik in action against Hull
Karim Rekik in action against Hull
Pompey's Brandon Haunstrup

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Karim Rekik drew praise from Michael Appleton following an encouraging start to his Fratton Park life.

The 17-year-old was pitched in at left-back for last night’s visit of Hull.

That meant Ricardo Rocha was dropped to the bench, with Greg Halford and Tal Ben Haim shuffling around the back four to accommodate the Dutchman.

Rekik subsequently turned in an impressive display, catching the eye with his forays down the left flank and willingness to attack.

The Manchester City youngster also earned a second-half booking.

Regardless, Appleton felt he was vindicated in putting his trust in Rekik, who only arrived at Fratton Park last Thursday.

And he is expecting plenty more good things for the remainder of the defender’s loan spell.

The Blues boss said: ‘I was delighted with him, it gives a bit of balance down the left-hand side.

‘Karim loves to get forward and we had to put the brakes on him a couple of times, but I think he will show over the next seven games he’s a real talent.

‘The boy has only just turned 17.

‘It was one of them where I had to make a decision but I think Ric (Rocha) has played a lot of games.

‘He played a lot in January and got himself injured so it was a little bit of everything really – tactical and the need to rest him among other things

‘I just felt, with the way they would set up, we needed two full-backs who were prepared to get on and get beyond.

‘With playing Greg (Halford) inside, it allowed Karim to give us that balance on the left-hand side.’

In the switch, Ben Haim was moved to his more accustomed role at right-back. The Israeli international clearly revealed the position, attacking strongly and embarking on several swashbuckling runs.

Naturally right-footed, he had spent the previous four matches filling in the problematic left-back spot.

And Appleton was pleased with the former Bolton man’s showing in his more favoured role.

He added: ‘Tal did ever so well.

‘I was delighted with him.’