Portsmouth chief: Our financial backing for youth vision

Haji Mnoga became Pompey's second-youngest post-war debutant when he featured against Crawley in the Checkatrade Trophy
Haji Mnoga became Pompey's second-youngest post-war debutant when he featured against Crawley in the Checkatrade Trophy
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Andy Redman has reiterated the owners’ commitment towards maintaining Pompey’s flourishing youth production drive.

However, Tornante’s president has ruled out elevating the academy’s existing Category 3 status at present.

Andy Redman

Andy Redman

Home-grown pair Ben Close and Jack Whatmough are closing in on a century of Blues appearances as they continue to feature regularly for Kenny Jackett’s side.

Meanwhile, first-year scholar Haji Mnoga earlier this month appeared in the Checkatrade Trophy at Crawley, becoming the second-youngest debutant in the club’s post-war history.

In addition, Croatia under-18 international keeper Petar Durin and Northern Ireland under-16 striker Eoin Teggart have been recruited for undisclosed fees to bolster the youth ranks.

And club board member Redman has stressed the importance of financially backing Pompey’s prolific youth set-up.

He said: ‘Youth here is crucial to us.

‘At the end of the day, we don't pick the line-up, it’s Kenny’s choice, but he feels similarly to us that there needs to be a path for local players to progress all the way through into the first team.

‘I think he has so far provided them with that path and recruiting players for the youth team also completely ties to our long-term vision.

‘I don’t mean to tell anyone how to run their club, but for us year 20 is just as important as year four. You need to be investing in elements that will pay off in year 20, otherwise you can’t necessarily get them if you wait 15 or 16 years.

‘When we talk about building brick-by-brick, a lot of it is putting in place things today which don’t have a near-term pay-off.

‘It’s a very different philosophy to what other owners have had here and we are quite confident.

‘It has worked across other businesses and seems to be working here. Time will tell.’

Interestingly, however, ramping up Pompey’s academy status is currently not on the owners’ agenda.

Redman added: ‘With the category of the academy, you know right now we are pleased with the results of what are coming through.

‘Things will change over time, but right now things are working and working well, and being a Category 3 doesn't seem to be a long-term problem within the community we are able to recruit from.’