Close call for Pompey accolade shows progress

Ben Close receives his award from manager Kenny Jackett Picture: Joe Pepler
Ben Close receives his award from manager Kenny Jackett Picture: Joe Pepler
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BEN CLOSE’s Pompey emergence has been lauded.

Blues boss Kenny Jackett saluted the Southsea midfielder’s quality as he signed off from a fine campaign.

Close has broken well clear of the 40-appearance barrier this term and was named Pompey’s Young Player of the Season at the club’s gala dinner this week.

Jackett feels the accolade is wholly justified.

He said: ‘Ben’s nailed down a place and hasn’t ran out of energy.

‘For consistency in the midfield area, Ben Close has been right up there. I’ve been pleased with him. He’s got a good character.

‘His assessment of where he is, what he does and how he plays is good. He’s honest with himself.

‘He has very good enthusiasm to work and train and to try to get better.

‘Those two things are good traits to have.

‘He had spells when he was bursting through and having shots.

‘But the fact we maybe haven’t nailed the defensive midfield has hurt that.

‘Anyway, he can, if you look at the first goal against Wigan, produce slick control. It was very good play and an example of someone who is a very capable footballer.’

Jackett feels the turnover of midfield players hasn’t helped Close’s cause this season and remedying the issue next term will assist his progress.

He added: ‘In terms of midfield, we’ve been unlucky with injury.

‘There’s been Rose and O’Keefe who’ve had long periods of injury.

‘There’s even Anton Walkes when we found a formation and set-up around the time of Walsall and Wigan where he played in front of the back four.

‘But Ben’s a player I’ve been very pleased.

‘Ben has a good all-round game both creatively and in the consistency of his game and consistency of his attitude. His running is also quite high.

‘If we can get it right around him there’s an even more effective player there.’