Christian Burgess has revealed the reasons why so many defenders are unable to nullify Brett Pitman’s goalscoring threat.
The 26-year-old feels the Pompey skipper’s movement and prowess in the air are the reasons behind his ruthlessness in the final third.
Pitman moved to the Blues from Ipswich Town for an undisclosed fee last summer.
It was regarded as a major coup from Kenny Jackett at the time and it has proven that way. The former AFC Bournemouth striker netted 26 goals in his maiden season at Fratton Park – becoming the first Pompey player since Svetoslav Todorov in 2003 to break the 20-goal barrier.
Pitman finished as League One’s second top-scorer last term – despite having spells out through injury. And from a centre-back’s perspective, Burgess lifted the lid on why opponents would find his captain so difficult to neutralise.
The former Peterborough defender said: ‘It’s his experience that makes him so tough to play against.
‘He just knows where to be and what he’s doing when he gets the ball in every situation.
‘He’s got a very good touch on him, he’s knowledgeable with the ball, will play people in and then his finishing is second-to-none.
‘If you give him a yard to shoot then it’s pretty much there or thereabouts.
‘Also his movement in the air is very good.
‘You wouldn’t say he’s massive or has got the biggest leap but it’s his movement.
‘He gets up early, which is hard for a centre-half.
‘As soon as he gets up, you’re trying to go with him and that’s always tricky.
‘There was one headed goal at Oldham when he got up so early he didn’t give the centre-half a chance and flicked it into the far corner.
‘That is very hard and he is so good at that.’
Pitman will undoubtedly play a crucial role as Pompey look to clinch promotion to the Championship this season.
He will certainly be looking for a similar return in front of goal – and will be gunning for League One’s golden boot.
Burgess explained how Pitman’s presence up top gives the Blues confidence – even when they’re not performing to their best.
And he regards the Jersey-born ace as the best goalscorer he’s ever played alongside.
Burgess added: ‘Brett’s a terrific finisher and can win you a game out of nothing.
‘It’s not just his finishing with his feet but he’s strong in the air as well.
‘He gives you a lot of confidence when it’s 0-0 and you’re maybe not playing so well.
‘You can get something out of nothing with him up there.
‘He knows what he’s doing with his movement and experience and it is a boost when you’re playing with him.
‘As a finisher, he’s right up there. He has a knack of putting everything away, even in training.
‘He’s probably the best finisher I’ve ever played with. I wouldn’t count Middlesbrough because I didn’t play much.’