Ferry: Pompey youngster destined for the top

Jack Whatmough. Picture: Joe Pepler
Jack Whatmough. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey's Theo Widdrington in action at Goodison Park. Picture: Anthony McArdle/Everton FC

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Simon Ferry is adamant Jack Whatmough will grace the Premier League during his blossoming career.

The 17-year-old has for years been talked about excitedly at Fratton Park during his progress through the youth ranks.

Now his effortless transition to first-team football has impressed both fans and team-mates alike, since given a regular spot over the past five matches.

Whatmough was once again outstanding in his favoured central-defensive role in Saturday’s 1-0 over Hartlepool, earning him the sponsors’ man of the match.

The Gosport youngster is also pencilled in for England under-18 duty against Germany at Rotherham’s New York Stadium next Wednesday (April 16).

And Pompey skipper Ferry has no doubts of the direction Whatmough’s career path will one day lead.

‘Jack is brilliant, he’s going to play at the top, definitely,’ said Ferry.

‘One day he will be in the Premier League. I’m not saying when that will be, but one day he will get there.

‘He strolls the games, every time I have seen him he does that. He should be playing in the youth team – yet he comes out here into the first team and strolls it.

‘Jack is so unfazed. For a kid of that age to come in – especially when we are at the bottom of the league when you think there would be pressure on – and act like there is absolutely no pressure on is unbelievable.

‘On Saturday I had a go at him at one point from the middle of the park when he didn’t pass to me.

‘But he won every header, he reads the game so well, he’s a Rolls Royce, isn’t he.

‘The lad covers the ground, he doesn’t look like he’s running fast but never gets beaten for pace – he’s going to do really well.’

It was Whatmough’s Academy boss Andy Awford who gave him his first-team debut last November.

At the time Awford was serving a caretaker stint following the sacking of Guy Whittingham.

He started four times under Whittingham’s successor, Richie Barker, although never at the heart of the defence.

But since Awford returned in charge, Whatmough has lined-up in the centre of defence during both matches.

It has been a dream past month for the teenager, who made his England under-18 debut against Croatia in March in addition to his continued first-team presence.

Ferry believes Whatmough, who signed a three-year deal in August 2013, is keeping his feet on the ground.

He added: ‘Jack isn’t arrogant at all. He doesn’t boast about how good he is, he just comes in and works hard and takes it in his stride.

‘I also think League Two is the hardest league for a centre-half – they just get bombarded with balls.

‘Jack can play centre midfield as well and that is a big testimony to him also.’