Portsmouth boss lays down target after rewarding defender

The new contract is reward for an outstanding season of progress.

Friday, 18th January 2019, 3:47 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 5:55 pm
Jack Whatmough has enjoyed a fine season. Picture: Joe Pepler

But Jack Whatmough has been told there’s still plenty of room for development in his Pompey career.

And upping his threat from set-pieces is one of the immediate targets for the Blues’ home-grown talent.

Whatmough celebrated signing a new deal this week which ties him to his club until the summer of 2021.

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The 22-year-old has proved his value this term after making 26 appearances and forming a powerful central-defensive partnership with Matt Clarke.

After well-documented injury problems, Whatmough has silenced any doubters with his run of games this term - including playing five games in 15 days across the Christmas period.

Jackett paid tribute to the condition the Gosport lad has got himself into, which he feels has been key in his performance level this term.

But with just one senior goal to his name, the Pompey boss feels someone of Whatmough’s physical stature should be providing more threat in the opponent’s box.

Jackett said: ‘Jack’s always been a good player and I’ve felt if you can get him out there on a regular basis he can get into rhythm. Then he has to do his part by really living right and pushing as hard as he can in his fitness.

‘He is a big-set lad and he looks in good shape at the moment.

‘That’s what has got him where he is and as of now, half-way in January, we’re pleased to extend his stay here and look forward to working with him and producing continued strong defensive performances.

‘While I’m pleased with him and pleased with his distribution and defending I do think he can get on the end of more in the opposition’s box.

‘It’s something he can add to his game because there’s not too many goals and his power in his own box and on the half-way line is there. So he has to maintain his standards and I’m looking for more going forward.’

After gaining momentum in his Pompey career this season, Jackett feels the challenge for Whatmough is maintain and improve standards now moving forward.

The pair have held talks over the best manner in which to do that, with the Blues boss considering a rest for the England age-group international amid a busy programme of games.

Whatmough feels maintaining a rhythm is the best course of action for him, which Jackett has taken on board.

And the demand from his manager when acting on the defender's thoughts is to see him become the player so many people at Pompey, past and present, believe he’s capable of being. 

Jackett added: ‘He’s a very honest lad and talking to your players is something you’d always do as a manager.

‘You discuss and say why you are doing what you’re doing. While it is your call as a manager, you do need to know what your players are thinking.

‘The next two-and-a-half years are going to be a big  period in his career. He’s got good years ahead of him so the message to the player is keep up the good work - but keep improving, too.’