BEN CLOSE has been lauded as the leading light of Pompey’s emerging young guns.
Kenny Jackett saluted the midfielder’s standout form as he aims to cement a place in his manager’s first XI.
Close is on an unbroken run of 10 league starts for his hometown club, with an appearance from the off also arriving at Luton in the FA Cup.
A purple patch for the 21-year-old was topped with his maiden Blues goal in the 3-2 win at Blackpool at a weekend.
The Checkatrade Trophy have been the only games the player has missed in his best run at senior level.
Jackett has been delighted with the development the Southsea talent has shown since coming into the team.
The Pompey boss believes he’s leading the way for the home-grown players at the club.
And Jackett is confident there’s more to come from the midfielder.
He said: ‘For Ben, I’ve just seen a constant improvement since being in the team.
‘He was very unlucky not to score against Luton last week and on Saturday he followed up with a great finish and a key goal for us.
‘It’s his first goal for the club in what has been an outstanding spell for him. I’m delighted for him.
‘He’s consistently improved since I’ve been here and, looking at his temperament, I think he definitely has more to come.
‘Ben has really come on in terms of the younger players at the club, and so far I think that he’s been the most impressive.
‘He’s 21 now and that’s it’s first for the club. Congratulations to him.
‘I’ve seen a really good improvement from Ben and there’s more to come from someone who has got a very level head.’