Pompey striker: Why being a team player is crucial

Noel Hunt. Picture: Joe Pepler
Noel Hunt. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Noel Hunt shrugs off the relevance of a 2017 playing return totalling a mere 15 minutes.

After all, he’s a team player.

Noel Hunt set up Kal Naismith's goal. Picture: Joe Pepler

Noel Hunt set up Kal Naismith's goal. Picture: Joe Pepler

For the veteran striker there can be no individual glory in the collective bid for promotion success.

Certainly Pompey’s ongoing bid to raid the top three comfortably outranks any personal designs on first-team action.

When Hunt supplied the pass for Kal Naismith to apply the finishing touch in victory over Accrington, it represented an increasingly rare pitch presence.

Since starting the fog-hit match at Yeovil on December 30, the former Reading man has featured only twice.

To achieve success, you must have those players that are selfless

Noel Hunt

Overall, three starts, 16 substitute appearances and one goal has been the sum of his Fratton Park contribution since his summer arrival.

Yet the 34-year-old has provided an admirable backbone to the team effort which has positioned the Blues fifth in the League Two table.

His upbeat attitude, irrespective of the lack of first-team action, has drawn frequent praise from Paul Cook.

And for Hunt, it’s a selfless approach he believes is crucial to maintaining harmonious Fratton team spirit.

He said: ‘I suppose I am a team player at the moment. I like to think I try to help.

‘Last Thursday we worked on shape in training and I was trying to shout at the starting XI how they should be higher going forward – and at the same time trying to score against them!

‘I’m not trying to sneak into their position, I was genuinely attempting to help them understand.

‘The only way you will win as a team is by being a team. That doesn’t just mean the 11 starting, the 18 in the match-day squad, the 24 players at training or even the staff.

‘Obviously, I have always wanted to play – and still do – but you have got to understand your mood can dictate a lot of people’s way of thinking.

‘I don’t want to go around kicking people when not playing, that isn’t the answer, those days have gone out of the game. Players like that have dwindled and left to go and have normal lives.

‘For me, you have to be positive and help the team. We are all trying to achieve the one goal.

‘One of the best I have seen do that was Jay Tabb at Reading. He was so patient and diligent and when he got his chance after two-and-a-half years took it.

‘To achieve success, you must have those players that are selfless.’

Hunt has aspirations of turning to coaching and management when his playing career ends.

It’s an outcome he does not foresee occurring for a few years yet.

However, he continues to provide help and advice to his team-mates whenever possible during his time on the south coast.

He added: ‘We are all here to help each other, that’s the main thing, and to achieve the same goal.

‘That is not going to change through the season, the season agenda as a whole is to get the club promoted, no matter how it is achieved.

‘Within that you can still help each other along, improving one another and making each other better players.’