Jackett: Midfielder’s given Portsmouth much-needed bite

Kenny Jackett believes Tom Naylor’s competitive instincts have introduced a new dimension to Pompey’s midfield.

The combative performer was seen as one of the Blues’ marquee summer signings after beating off rival interest to land the Burton man.

Tom Naylor, typically, in the thick of the action against Wycombe  Picture: Joe Pepler

Tom Naylor, typically, in the thick of the action against Wycombe Picture: Joe Pepler

Jackett had targeted the 27-year-old after identifying the necessity to ramp up bite in his engine room.

Naylor has subsequently played every minute of Pompey’s League One campaign, collecting three bookings in the process.

And the Blues’ boss is delighted with the early contributions of his pre-season recruit.

Jackett said: ‘Tom has been very good, an excellent addition.

‘Generally last season I thought Ben Close was excellent in midfield. There were some other good performances along the way, but we did need to strengthen, we needed more power in there.

‘At the moment with Tom and Ben Thompson coming in it adds, I feel, good options to our central midfield.

‘Tom brings us consistency, determination, personality and a winning attitude. He’s a real competitor – and that's a fantastic thing to have.

‘At times we’ve needed some more power and athleticism in there to complement Ben Close. Both he and Ben Thompson have done that.

‘Tom’s got plenty of energy, too, and throughout the course of the season it is going to be needed – it is a prerequisite of a midfield player.’

Aside from Naylor’s tough-tackling approach, he also comes equipped with two successful promotion campaigns.

While at Burton, the midfielder won League Two in 2014-15, and the following season the Brewers were promoted from League One after finishing second.

Naylor has also accrued 74 appearances and six goals at Championship level, during spells with Derby and, of course, Burton.

Jackett added: ‘Tom’s got good experience, good experience at this level, good experience of the league above, which he has played in during recent seasons.

‘We haven’t got many people in our side who have played higher.

‘Generally, the policy is to go for players from below.’