Pompey’s big hope catches the eye

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Matt Casey is a big hope for Pompey.

That is the verdict of Jack Whatmough, who is convinced the 6ft 8in defender possesses a promising future.

Matt Casey in action against the Hawks Picture: Neil Marshall

Matt Casey in action against the Hawks Picture: Neil Marshall

Academy graduate Casey has been introduced at half-time in both of the Blues’ friendly wins during pre-season.

The towering central-defender has partnered Whatmough in each as he thrives in his newly-acquired first-year professional status.

And the 18-year-old’s Pompey team-mate has been impressed.

Whatmough said: ‘Young Matt Casey is coming through and I think is going to be a good player.

‘Get a bit of experience behind him, and someone playing alongside him who is going to give him more advice, and he can be a good player.

‘We call him Rodney, after Only Fools and Horses, but he’s got the attributes and the height to be a footballer.

‘There’s a lot of potential. For his height you might think it is difficult to move, but he has a bit of pace about him and is good on the ball.

‘The only thing he is lacking is a bit of experience, but with games it will come. I was probably in his boat at that age, with players talking about how I needed experience, and that does come.

‘He’s definitely one for the future.’

Casey and fellow first-year professional Dan Smith last week accompanied Kenny Jackett’s squad on their tour to Ireland.

They were joined by Academy pair Joe Dandy and Freddie Read, with the quartet featuring in the 4-1 friendly win over Cork City.

Dandy missed Saturday’s 2-1 win over the Hawks through injury, but the remaining trio appeared for the second half.

Whatmough’s maiden pre-season trip for Pompey was to Colchester in 2014.

And he has applauded the attitude of the current crop emerging under Jackett.

He added: ‘There were a few young lads on the Irish trip and they are good characters.

‘It’s the little things such as getting up and singing for your initiation.

‘The first time I did it was aged 17 and it’s hard. You forget the words and the boys are on you, if you sing badly, the boys are on you.

‘It takes a lot of bottle to go up and do that. You can take the option of a fine, but no-one paid it, they all went up and sung.

‘Matt did his last season on an away trip. Joe Dandy and Freddie Read sung in Ireland, but it didn’t phase them.

‘Mind you, they both sang for too long and should have got booted off!’