Nathan Thompson revealed ‘cultured centre-back’ Matt Clarke has got his vote for Pompey’s Players’ Player of the Season award.
And the former Swindon captain reckons the 21-year-old playing at a higher level is inevitable after making League One ‘look easy’.
Clarke has continued his hurtling progression in the Blues’ defence this term.
His impressive performances have seen the former Ipswich talent attract a number of admirers, with Bristol City the latest club reportedly linked with him.
In most campaigns, Brett Pitman would scoop the award, having scored 23 goals to date.
But Clarke has got Thompson’s backing.
He said: ‘I think when you look at Matt Clarke, he’s been terrific this season.
‘He plays with such experience and at times he makes the league look too easy.
‘He has came up against some very good strikers and looks so composed.
‘The likes of Wigan have Championship strikers in their team and he made it look so easy.
‘Matt is good in the area, good on the ball – he is a very, very cultured centre-back – and has been massive for us this season.
‘To give him that after Pits has scored 22 league goals is quite something.’
Clarke looks destined to play further up the football pyramid.
And Thompson hopes it is with Pompey.
‘Hopefully Matt plays at a higher level with us,’ added the defender.
‘He signed a longer-term contract and hopefully he can get into the Championship here.
‘It’s inevitable he’ll play at a higher level.
‘I see no reason why he cannot play in the Championship or Premier League.’