Gallen: Promising Casey hitting the heights for Portsmouth

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Considering his 6ft 5in stature, it’s difficult for Matt Casey not to catch the eye.

Regardless, Joe Gallen has been impressed by the towering central defender’s performances following his latest first-team introduction.

Matt Casey challenges in the Checkatrade Trophy victory over Southend. Picture: Joe Pepler

Matt Casey challenges in the Checkatrade Trophy victory over Southend. Picture: Joe Pepler

And Pompey’s assistant boss believes the youngster possesses the perfect natural attributes to maintain his encouraging development.

Casey was last week recalled from a Gosport loan spell with Tuesday night’s Checkatrade Trophy trip to Southend in mind.

It represented another opportunity for the 19-year-old to demonstrate his talents in Kenny Jackett's side.

Building on last month’s debut against Arsenal under-21s in the same competition, Casey partnered Christian Burgess at Roots Hall, proceeding to secure a clean sheet.

The 2-0 success ensures Pompey now progress into the quarter-finals – and serves as another chance for the defender to impress when the opposition is known.

Gallen said: ‘I though Matt did well alongside Christian Burgess.

‘As he has been out on loan, I haven't seen him play because we have our own games, but he has the looks and the makings of a centre-half.

‘Like all the young players, he needs to go out and play men's football and hopefully progress up the ladder.

‘Start in the Southern League premier division south and aim for the Conference to test themselves at that level, just keep going and going. There's nothing like playing football.

‘Matt’s got height and that enables him to win those headers, so don’t underestimate that.

‘You have to win every header in every box, make sure your man doesn’t score at the other end, head all the free-kicks out, all the corners away, all the goal kicks out, it’s a simple game.

‘When you are 6ft 5in you have to use your attributes.

‘That’s the basics, that comes first and everything else comes after. If you can’t win those headers and can't see danger and can’t defend, then there’s no point being out there.’

Academy product Casey has also featured for Weymouth on loan this season during his footballing development.

However, following recent injuries to Lee Brown and Nathan Thompson, he was recalled by Kenny Jackett to bolster Fratton Park options.

Yet the intent is to send the defender back out once injuries – and fixtures – ease.

Gallen added: ‘We’ve had plenty of Saturdays and Tuesdays, unfortunately picking up a couple of injuries with the two full-backs.

‘At this stage of the season that is natural and normal, so we've got to look after everyone, we’ve got to try to keep the focus for the group so there is some first-team football for everyone.

‘The Checkatrade Trophy has enabled that – and we are through to the next round.’