Danny Cowley: Why surprise Portsmouth captaincy fully deserved for flourishing ex-Charlton and West Ham youngster

The Pompey captain’s armband represented further strides made by Jay Mingi during an eye-catching pre-season.

Tuesday, 26th July 2022, 4:55 am

And Cowley is adamant the recognition was fully warranted for the blossoming 21-year-old.

Mingi was handed the captaincy for a Pompey XI friendly at Bognor last Wednesday night, leading a youthful team.

That’s despite 29-year-old Ryan Tunnicliffe also being involved in the Nyewood Lane game – and the oldest Blues player on display by some distance.

And he continues to be delighted by the ex-Charlton youngster’s encouraging progress as he enters a second season at Fratton Park.

He told The News: ‘Mingi deserved the captaincy at Bognor.

‘He has the qualities that I like. I’ve seen an unselfishness in Jay, I have seen a desire and determination. He’s a team player, I like that.

Jay Mingi appeared as a substitute in Saturday's friendly against Coventry - yet captained a Pompey XI at Bognor days earlier. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages

‘Ryan Tunnicliffe was the oldest in that team, but do you have to be old to be a leader?

‘Not everyone has the attributes, you can be a top player and not a leader. I can think of loads of world-class players who are not leaders.

‘I’m trying to develop Jay, I think he can be that leader. Sometimes you have to give them the confidence to go and lead, sometimes it’s really nice if you can get one of the young ones leading so they can lead all the other young ones.

‘There are different responsibilities in the group. We had a double session last Friday, all the players were tired, but I told Harry Jewitt-White that his job in the group was driving the energy and enthusiasm. You might be 18, but he’s a leader in that.’

Jewitt-White’s stunning volley cancelled out Nick Dembele’s opener in the Nyewood Lane draw.

Nonetheless, despite honours even, it was an entertaining encounter with both Pompey keepers used on the night – Toby Stewart and Josh Oluwayemi – excelling.

Although Cowley admits he wasn’t impressed with the display of Mingi, regardless of wearing the captain’s armband.

He added: ‘I didn’t think Jay played very well that night, but he grew into the game and was better in the second half.

‘He’s young and, like all young players, they are learning now, learning the game, trying to find a level of consistency.

‘We have a long-term plan for Jay, he’s got to keep working and needs to play better than he did at Bognor.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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