Ben Thompson must not be shackled to a defensive-midfield role.
That is the verdict of Kenny Jackett, who is convinced the talented loanee can also thrive in attacking areas for Pompey.
The Millwall man was pushed up into the three serving behind Oli Hawkins during the second half of Saturday’s visit of Fleetwood.
Effectively operating as the number 10 flanked by Jamal Lowe and Ronan Curtis, it was a tactical switch which contributed towards Thompson being crowned man of the match and earned the Blues a 1-0 triumph.
The 23-year-old has made a big impact since arriving on loan and will retain his place for tonight’s visit of Burton (7.45pm).
Yet Jackett is loath to restrict Thompson to a defensive remit.
He said: ‘Ben has a good all-round game. If you just limit him to a defensive-midfield role he can do it, but he actually gets forward very well.
‘He has an ability to take the ball in and drive with it. He has been able to turn quite quickly with the ball and drive into the box and almost get underneath people with his turns. There was one good give-and-go with Jamal Lowe in the first half.
‘Ben’s a player I don't think you should necessarily limit because he brings a lot when he can actually drive forward from midfield.
‘His role very much depends on what is needed at the time. He has a lot of qualities, but more and more I want him to be able to go forward, to create, run with the ball, drive with the ball, to win the ball back high in good areas.
‘The right role for the right game is what I would describe about Ben.
‘He has grown in confidence, is getting used to the pace of League One on a regular basis and, both defensively and in attack, has contributed.’
Gareth Evans has largely been employed as Pompey’s number 10 this season, totalling four goals.
Jackett also believes Thompson can net from that position if handed the responsibility.
And he’s weighing up starting him there against Burton.
Pompey’s boss added: ‘I think Ben has the shooting ability.
‘He’s not somebody with a lot of league games behind him necessarily, we will see how our team evolves and where he fits in.
‘I think there’s different roles he can play, but the one thing I wouldn’t want to do is limit him defensively too many times because he has a lot to add and contribute when going forward.’
– NEIL ALLEN