Ex-Norwich and Swindon man revelling in new Portsmouth responsibilities after Danny Cowley-inspired transformation

Willing volunteer Louis Thompson last season flourished in his new-look midfield role.

Wednesday, 27th July 2022, 4:55 am
Updated Wednesday, 27th July 2022, 1:45 pm

Now the former Norwich man is eyeing a permanent presence in the number six position he has grown to love.

Formerly a box-to-box player, Thompson has been converted to a deeper-lying role by Danny Cowley to great success.

The 27-year-old thrived in his new challenge, establishing himself as a popular and consistent performer for the Blues.

Cowley this summer added Marlon Pack to his ranks, a genuine sitting midfielder with almost 600 career outings in the position.

But Thompson is keen to continue his new-found midfield duties as a number six.

He told The News: ‘I was a box-to-box midfielder when younger, a number eight, chipping in with a few goals and assists, yet have always had the defensive qualities suited at number six.

‘As a number eight you have the responsibility to attack a lot more, you have the freedom and licence to push up the pitch.

Louis Thompson has been converted into a deep-lying midfielder by Danny Cowley - and is enjoying it. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages

‘The number six is a role I played at Norwich a fair bit, but last season was probably my most settled period in that position – and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

‘I am quite versatile, so I can help the team where I need to. We played a lot in transition last year and I felt I suited that. It suited me playing as a six and I put some of my best performances into that position.

‘I can play both. In training you get moved around and adapt to it. I watch a lot of football and Ryan Tunnicliffe is a natural number eight, he has qualities that suit that position way better than me, for example.

‘As a number six you need to be a lot more disciplined in terms of assessing where our attack could break down, where we are vulnerable, fill in that hole, go and put the fire out.

‘Make sure you’re not so deep in the back line that you cannot affect the counters, but also not too high where you’re out of the game and leaving the defensive line vulnerable.

‘It’s a learning curve, but I played a lot of games in that position last year and felt I grew into it.

‘And the more time you’re spending in a position, the better you become at it.’

Thompson made 38 appearances and scored once during his maiden Fratton Park campaign.

And another welcome characteristic of his game is his willingness to drive upfield with the ball.

He added: ‘In a funny way, being deeper as a number six means a lot more space in front of you to drive on the ball, which suits my skill set.

‘There’s a few occasions where it helped us out with building our attacks.

‘The more I play with the lads here and in a settled squad, you learn how different people play and, towards the end of the season, you saw our results massively improve just because of those relationships.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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