JACK WHATMOUGH has paid tribute to the people who helped save his career.
Whatmough crossed the latest landmark in his return from injury against Carlisle last weekend.
The defender got 90 minutes under his belt as he won the battle to start the campaign in the middle of Pompey’s defence.
That was the first time the 19-year-old has done so in Blues colours since suffering a cruciate knee ligament injury in March last year.
It’s been a long road to recovery for Whatmough, which has continued across the summer after he made his first-team comeback in April.
Surgeon Niall Flynn was the man who carried out the operation on the Gosport talent after he suffered the injury late on against Cheltenham.
He drew praise from the player along with the former Blues medical staff who pushed him hard when undergoing his rehabilitation.
Whatmough also highlighted his family and former coaching staff who helped him as he battled back.
He said: ‘All of last season I was sat in the stand and walking away afterwards.
‘I wasn’t fit and then I couldn’t get into the side when I first came back.
‘So to play 90 minutes in the first team at Portsmouth Football Club after that is massive for me.
‘The surgeon, Niall Flynn, I owe so much to him.
‘There’s a lot of time when players have these injuries, have the operation and then it goes again. He’s a great surgeon who looked after me massively.
‘The physios who’ve left – Sean Duggan and Johnny Hayes – were excellent.
‘My family supported me and my girlfriend supported me.
‘There’s a lot of people to thank and a lot I can take forward from what I’ve been through.
‘People like Paul Hardyman and Macca (Alan McLoughlin) really helped me a lot. I wouldn’t have been back playing without them.’
Whatmough explained he’s put himself through the wringer in pre-season to build his fitness going into the campaign.
But he acknowledged there is still more he can do to keep himself in shape in the coming months.
The England under-19 man feels he can still lose more weight – and that will continue to be a focus for him.
But he is confident enough to now feel the injury he suffered is a thing of the past.
Whatmough said: ‘I feel I’ve got a lot stronger.
‘There’s a lot I did in the off season. I went on a strict diet and lost of bit of weight.
‘There’s still a bit more to go from the injury and carrying a little bit before.
‘For me, it’s about me getting back to how I was when I first broke into the first team.
‘I was probably at my best then and that’s what I want to get back to.
‘The injury has gone, so I can build on that.’
– JORDAN CROSS