Double disappointment for Portsmouth's latest international star - but still plenty to savour for Crookhorn talent

Double disappointment won’t spoil Pompey’s newest international footballer’s latest career landmark.

Sunday, 12th June 2022, 1:00 pm

Qualifying through grandmother Christine, the former Purbrook Park pupil was named in squads for two friendlies against Northern Ireland last week.

Bridgman started both, yet they each ended in defeat for Malta’s youngsters at their MFA Training Grounds.

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Nonetheless, an international bow represents another significant achievement for the highly-regarded midfielder, who earned third-year scholarship terms at Fratton Park at the season’s end.

Wednesday’s opening fixture with Northern Ireland under-19s marked not only Bridgman’s debut but also that of new coach Antonio Jose Cardose Mendes.

However, they suffered a 6-0 defeat, with Bridgman operating on the right wing before replaced in the 65th minute.

For Northern Ireland, Charlie Lindsay and substitute Callum Marshall both scored twice, with other goals from Jamie McDonnell and Makenzie Kirk.

Crookhorn's Alfie Bridgman made his Malta under-19s debut last week. Picture: Robin Jones/Digital South

Just 48 hours later, the two sides faced each other once more, although Friday’s outcome was far closer, Malta slipping to a 2-1 loss.

On this occasion asked to play left wing-back, Bridgman featured for 81 minutes in a much-improved team performance.

McDonnell and a Daithi McCallion penalty handed Northern Ireland a 2-0 lead, with a stoppage-time consolation for the hosts through Nathan Cross, after Jake Micallef’s penalty was initially stopped.

Bridgman returned to the south coast on Saturday, ahead of Pompey’s June 20 start for pre-season training.

Elsewhere, fellow Academy product Harry Jewitt-White suffered a Wales under-18 defeat to England.

As part of a four-country tournament in Croatia, the Red Dragons were on the receiving end of a 2-0 loss, courtesy of goals from Jude Soonsup-Bell and Sonny Perkins.

Jewitt-White appeared as a second-half substitute as Wales boss Rob Edwards rotated his squad, with just three of those which started the 4-2 success over Croatia keeping their spots.

Wales under-18s now face Austria tomorrow in the final match before the midfielder from Hayling Island returns home.

Jewitt-White, who signed first-year professional forms for Pompey in April, now has 10 international caps as he maintains his promising progress.

Finally, Haji Mnoga was ruled out of Tanzania’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Algeria.

The Blues defender was forced off 34 minutes into their 1-1 draw with Niger through injury, a match which marked his third international cap.

It also sidelined him from last Wednesday’s encounter with Algeria, which ended in a 2-0 home loss for Tanzania at the Benjamin Mkapa National Stadium.

Mnoga made his debut for Tanzania back in March, featuring in friendlies against Central African Republic and Sudan.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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