They say some players can become better footballers when they’re sat in the stands.
It’s a football truism, not cliche, one which displays succinct insight into one of dynamics of the game.
It’s a process we’re witnessing with Pompey at present in the absence of Danny Rose.
Rose’s broken leg picked up on the penultimate day of the year has coincided with the Blues’ travails in 2018.
It’s no coincidence either. There’s little doubt the 30-year-old’s time on the sidelines has been a significant factor in a downturn in form.
Such a pattern when it comes to the midfielder and Pompey is not an isolated incident.
Amid the acknowledgement of how his no-nonsense qualities and calming presence has been missed, it’s easy to forget Rose barely featured for a large chunk of the season.
In fact, he didn’t make a squad for six games and made one start in 14, before returning for nine wins in 11 through November and December. Of course, it was a similar tale last term, with the popular figure coming in from the cold to feature heavily in the charge to the title.
The pattern is too significant to ignore, but even so there was initial doubt over his future with a major injury arriving with his deal at a close in the summer.
So Kenny Jackett’s class in handing the Blues talisman new terms is to be applauded – and a much-needed feelgood story at a time when results have tested spirits.