Kenny Jackett believes forgotten man Sylvain Deslandes’ future lies as a centre-half – not at left-back.
The 21-year-old arrived at Fratton Park on loan from Wolves in January for the remainder of the campaign.
Full-backs these days need to come out, being able to bring the ball out, showing quality on the ballKenny Jackett
Despite being earmarked to strengthen the problematic left-back position, the France under-20 international made two appearances.
Deslandes was also named in just two of Kenny Jackett’s final nine squads, while was not present for the lap of appreciation after Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Peterborough.
Clearly it has been a disappointing loan spell for all concerned, with the youngster having now returned to Molineux.
And after studying his game close up, Jackett now believes Deslandes is better equipped to serve as a central defender.
The boss said: ‘Sylvain has good power, good athleticism, and it could develop into a situation where centre-half may be his better position than a modern-day full-back.
‘In that position we have Matt Clarke there and he has been fit all the time.
‘I do feel with Sylvain that he will be able to do a job at left-back, but going forward it will be at left centre-half where he shows.
‘Clarke’s form and the fact he is a shoo-in every week has stopped me trying Sylvain in that position.
‘Looking back, once or twice he has played at left-back for us but, in terms of the size and power of him, he can be a left centre-back.
‘Full-backs these days need to come out, being able to bring the ball out, showing quality on the ball.
‘Sylvain is a good defender, a big, strong lad, and suited to left centre-back in the future.’
Deslandes arrived with Connor Ronan from Jackett’s former club Wolves seeking first-team opportunities.
Yet the form of Dion Donohue and the subsequent eye-catching return of Brandon Haunstrup from injury ensured his chances were restricted.
Jackett added: ‘Sylvain’s had two games and been involved in the match-day 18 for the majority of times, without making the starting XI.
‘He has been frustrated, definitely, and would want to play. Coming here to be substitute isn’t necessarily what he came here for.
‘But we’ve had a lack numbers and lack of players at different times so having a squad is very important.
‘Brandon had a worrying injury during the course of the season and, I have got to say, has come through it well.
‘In January and half of February he was out and we were worried about it, but I am pleased to say he made it back and totally proven his fitness.’