Danny Cowley's belief Portsmouth 'ball thief' leaves Ipswich Town, Sunderland, Charlton Athletic, Wigan Athletic and rest of League One strikers in shade
John Marquis has been heralded as League One’s best finisher after his clinical strike set Pompey on the way to a Fratton homecoming success.
And Danny Cowley believes the striker is now reaping the benefits of channelling his intense character in a positive manner for his side.
Marquis’ ice-cool 48th-minute finish helped the Blues to second in the formative League One table after a 2-0 win over Crewe Alexandra.
And Cowley sees no one better than the 29-year-old at this level when presented with such openings.
Cowley said: ‘It was a super finish and we know he’s the best finisher in the league.
‘If we create chances he’ll score goals.
‘The great thing about John is he’s working so hard for the team.
‘Even when he’s not scoring he’s giving us a lot against the ball.
‘It’s the life of a number nine.
‘I thought he showed that control, and when the chance came he had ice in his veins and was able to show the execution.’
Marquis’ goal came after a first half in which he wasn’t able to provide the final flourish, as Pompey dominated without finding fluency in the last third.
Cowley explained he’s been working hard with the former Doncaster man on not letting such scenarios get on top of him, when they surface.
He added: ‘It didn’t quite happen in the first half and we’ve been working hard on him and Ronan (Curtis) in terms of emotional control.
‘He’s an attacking player and trying to do the hardest things in football - create and score goals.
‘When he doesn’t, we don’t want him on his haunches or throwing his arms in the air.
‘We’re trying to channel that into the counter-press and trying to win the ball back quickly - and he’s really brought into that.
‘He’s as good a counter-presser as there is. We call him the ball thief because he’s so clever in turning the ball over.’
A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron
The News has launched a subscription offer which gives you unlimited access to all of our Pompey coverage, starting at less than 14p a day.
You can subscribe here to get the latest news from Fratton Park - and to support our local team of expert Pompey writers.