Conor Chaplin’s blossoming confidence has catapulted him into a more lethal goal-scoring threat.
That is the verdict of Michael Doyle, who admires the growing maturity of the 19-year-old.
Conor has that confidence now, whereas last year was a young kid coming onto the scene and embracing itMichael Doyle
Chaplin opened his season’s account with a stunning goal in Saturday’s 4-2 victory over Wycombe.
His composed headed finish, after lifting the ball over Anthony Stewart, has already been hailed as goal of the season by Doyle – last year’s recipient.
The youngster had earlier climbed off the bench to replace the injured Curtis Main.
Chaplin has again staked his claim for a starting spot in Paul Cook’s side.
And Pompey’s skipper believes the 19-year-old is a more effective proposition than last term.
Doyle said: ‘That finish was unbelievable, I think it already is goal of the season.
‘In the dressing room afterwards people were saying it’s the best goal they had ever seen.
‘I was just open-mouthed, but that is Conor. When it comes into the box and everybody else panics, he is the calmest man.
‘In training he gets six shots and scores six goals, he is a different class when he arrives in that position.
‘He was the coolest man in the stadium. Nobody else would have thought to have done that, they would have slashed at it.
‘Conor is lethal and has grown as a player from last year. You can see he knows he is good enough to play at this level in a sense of he’s aware he can get himself into places to score.
‘He has that confidence now, whereas last year he was a young kid coming onto the scene and embracing it.
‘I look at Conor now and see a bit of Marc McNulty in him, whether it’s from playing with the likes of Marc you would have to ask him.
‘He wasn’t as great outside the box last year, but you see him now and he’s really sharp, moving the ball, getting into pockets.
‘From training and playing with him, I can see an improvement. He has grown as a player.’
Chaplin has emerged from a successful Blues youth set-up which has produced Jed Wallace and Adam Webster in recent years.
And with the likes of Ben Close and Adam May being recent graduates, Doyle believes the system is a credit to the club.
He added: ‘I like Conor’s professionalism, how humble he is, how he is respectful to all the senior players and comes and asks you for advice.
‘There are so many kids in the game that can learn from him, he is so grounded.
‘Other young lads like Adam May and Ben Close are also good players – the likes of Mikey Harris and Mark Kelly deserve a lot of credit.
‘I’ve been at clubs where young kids don’t have a lot about them, so it is very refreshing.’