LUKE McGEE has been backed to mature into a goalkeeping force for Pompey.
Kenny Jackett believes the Blues first-choice has the potential to establish himself long-term at the club.
But the Pompey boss feels there’s still plenty of room for improvement in the 22-year-old’s game.
McGee has proved himself a solid successor to David Forde in 18 appearances this term, picking up five clean sheets in that time.
It was Jackett’s influence which brought the keeper to Fratton Park, with the Blues linked with a loan move for Brighton’s Christian Walton this summer.
And the manager is confident about the keeper McGee can become.
He said: ‘Yes, he was more my signing (than goalkeeping coach John Keeley’s).
‘I saw him play last season at Peterborough in our league.
‘He’s certainly of a League One standard. Definitely.
‘He’s just turned 22. Are there things he can improve on? Yes.
‘But if he does improve on those things he’ll really be able to put a stamp on the division.
‘He’s got the raw tools. He’ll get stronger and his physique will get more powerful.
‘As he’ll get older the resulting confidence from that will take him forward.
‘He’s a very competent goalkeeper and he’s had some outstanding displays.’
When breaking down McGee’s game, Jackett highlighted the keeper’s handling and shot stopping as strengths, with his kicking and releasing the ball as areas for improvement.
The Blues boss added: ‘His handling and shot stopping is very, very good.
‘I feel the big thing he needs to improve on is the consistency of his kicking.
‘He can kick it long and he can kick it accurately, but needs to do it on a more consistent basis.
‘Generally, for young keepers coming and taking crosses and kicking comes after handling.
‘That’s generally what they’re brought up on.
‘It’s a tough one, but the consistency of his kicking is a big one.
‘I think, generally, particularly at home, he can do things quicker.
‘He does it reasonably slowly because he wants to be absolutely perfect.
‘Whereas, to get the crowd going and get the team going he could do it quicker.
‘I’m not saying kick it if there’s nobody there, I’m not saying that, but hopefully we’re set up.
‘He’s responsible for the tempo of it, kicking consistently and distributing early are big ones.
‘When he does get the opportunity to throw it, against Bradford he twice got the ball out early to our left-back, it got us going well down the left side.
‘He’s fine with that. If he gets the opportunity he does throw it out early.
‘He has the capability to do that but, in terms of improvement, consistency of kicking is probably top of the list.’