BEN CLOSE can be the future of Pompey.
Kenny Jackett saluted the midfielder’s impact this season after rewarding him with a new contract.
Close has agreed new terms, as he committed himself to the Blues until the summer of 2020.
The 21-year-old has made a big impression on Jackett, picking up 20 appearances this term to take his total outings to 47.
The Pompey boss believes the academy graduate is now becoming more dominant in games.
And he warrants a new deal as he looks for him to be a part of his plans moving forward.
Jackett said: ‘I feel Ben’s worthy of a new contract. I feel he’s a good player.
‘I like his temperament and he’s determined to keep improving here.
‘I don’t think he’ll sit back now. We wanted it to be long term, so hopefully he can now take us forward and build with us.
‘The nature of the way things are done here is people are under contract, but if they do step on and deserve another, they are spoken to quickly.
‘Talks went very well and I’m pleased he’s committed himself to the club.
‘He has to keep improving and keep his attitude exactly as it is. If he does that he’ll be fine.
‘We wanted to reward him and give him the belief we’re heading in the right direction.
‘With the right attitude, which he’s got, he can be part of the future.
‘He has a lot of ability and he has made good strides.
‘I trust his temperament to be enthusiastic and not sit back.
‘I think he has a little bit of everything. He’s neat and tidy on the ball, but, of late he’s imposed himself on games.
‘In the early-season games he looked consistent, reliable and tidy.
‘But as it’s gone on and he’s had more of a run he’s actually imposed himself on games.’
Close’s new deal sends a message to the other emerging players at Fratton Park.
Jackett explained there will be chances for other young players to tread the same path as Close.
He said: ‘When the situation arises you want to be able to renew people’s contracts with enthusiasm.
‘For every player you need to perform well in training and play well on Saturday.
‘At his age with his contract being reviewed I’m glad he’s committed his future to Portsmouth.
‘At 21, if he keeps his attitude the game he should keep improving.
‘Maybe it’s getting a run, until they get that you never know – and players can surprise you.
‘They need to earn that, but it’s interesting that when you do give the players the exposure how they respond.
‘Everyone’s contract situation is different, but they are being looked at and reviewed by us constantly.
‘It’s a good time to be a young player at Portsmouth because there are chances and opportunities.’