Danny Cowley's Portsmouth back three vision - and fitting Kieron Freeman and Millwall's Mahlon Romeo in the same side

Mahlon Romeo unleashes the potential for Pompey to line-up with a back three.

Monday, 6th September 2021, 11:01 am
Kieron Freeman has been earmarked for a potential back three role should Pompey make system changes. Picture: Daniel Chesterton/phcimages.com

That’s the verdict of Danny Cowley, who is convinced the right-back’s arrival provides him with greater tactical options.

Romeo established himself as an attacking full-back in the Championship with Millwall, often featuring as a wing-back.

Now he’s on a season-long loan at Fratton Park and, according to Cowley, offers the flexibility to employ a three-man defence.

Sign up to our Portsmouth FC newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

What’s more, the Blues’ head coach can also see room for Kieron Freeman in that system.

Cowley told The News: ‘What it does is allows us to get to a back three, which is something we like.

‘We wanted that flexibility in the group and Mahlon can definitely play in that wing-back role.

‘He can play on either side of the pitch and give us that real athletic, progressive quality. He travels with the ball so well, his combination play is great, supporters are going to like him.

‘I think they can play in the same team (as Kieron Freeman). Good players can always play together.

‘You guys pigeonhole him into a certain position. It’s just grass, they play there, they play there. They all move, don’t they.

‘Sometimes people say he’s a right-back. Perhaps a winger. I’ve thought about that, absolutely, he’s got the qualities.

Let’s be honest, for the modern-day full-back, think of Trent Alexander-Arnold and compare him to Lee Dixon. It’s a different game.

‘Kieron can play in the back three. Who says you have got to be 6ft 4in to be a centre-half?

Read More

Read More
For the latest Pompey news direct to your inbox sign up for our free newsletter

‘You need enough aerial dominance, you still have that with the two other centre-halves.’

Romeo has made 221 appearances for Millwall after arriving from Gillingham in May 2015.

Of the seven seasons he has started at The Den, five have been at Championship level, largely as a regular.

Now the 25-year-old is at Fratton Park challenged with helping Cowley’s men become a promotion force.

Pompey’s boss added: ‘Mahlon’s not just a kid who has played in the Championship – he’s a kid who has played really well in the Championship for quite a period of time.

‘It has been a tough period for him, which has been well documented, but for us, we just want to get him with a smile on his face, enjoying his football.

‘We know if we can do those two things then we’ll get the best out of him – and if we can get the best out of him, it can really help the team.’

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.