The surprise reason why ex-Portsmouth, Millwall and Gillingham favourite has struggled to make Stevenage impact

Former Pompey midfielder Ben Thompson is yet to show Stevenage fans what made him a fans' favourite at Fratton Park

Former Pompey favourite Ben Thompson signed for Stevenage in the summerFormer Pompey favourite Ben Thompson signed for Stevenage in the summer
Former Pompey favourite Ben Thompson signed for Stevenage in the summer

Steve Evans believes he finally knows why former Pompey favourite Ben Thompson has been struggling to make an impact at the Lamex Stadium this season.

The ex-Blues midfielder - who endeared himself to the Fratton faithful during a loan spell from Millwall in 2018 - moved to Boro from Peterborough for an undisclosed fee in the summer.

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He was one of five former Pompey players to make the switch to the League One new boys following their promotion at the end of last season.

However, with just five league starts to his name to date, the 28-year-old is yet to establish himself as a key player and has been forced to take a back seat as Evans’ in-form side sit fifth in the table.

Thompson completed only his fourth full 90 minutes of the season on Tuesday as Stevenage beat Crystal Palace’s under-21s 5-2 in the EFL Trophy. He produced a starring performance as Boro ended their interest in this year’s competition with an impressive win.

And as Evans welcomed the midfielder’s key role in the victory, he conceded Thompson’s failure so far to replicate form that he showed at Pompey, Gillingham and Millwall could simply be down to 'trying too hard'.

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The Boro boss ‘Leon Hunter (director of football) and I were just saying upstairs, we've almost been waiting for Thommo to grab a game by the scruff of the neck or get a bit of good fortune when he drives in and it opens up for him. 

‘Ben is a wonderful player and sometimes we're looking at training (and asking) why can't we put that onto the pitch? And sometimes we can only attribute it to being the kid is trying too hard in games.

‘But I thought he looked a level above most on the pitch against Palace. There were a number of players (who stood out). I mean Jake Forster-Caskey was sensational for periods and Harvey White - his passing was like what we expect from Harvey White.’

‘Ben Thompson's energy is infectious and I thought he was as good as anything on the pitch, and that's among a number of really top performances.’

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Thompson has featured 15 times for Boro this season in all competitions, registering one assist. Among his Lamex Stadium team-mates are ex-Blues Dan Butler, Nathan and Louis Thompson, and Whyte.

Stevenage are next in action on Saturday, when they play host to Lincoln. Victory could see them move up to fourth in table and four points behind league leaders Pompey, who will have played two games less.