High praise for Portsmouth-linked Brighton youngster Alex Cochrane

Pompey would be getting ‘one of the more promising players’ from Brighton’s youth ranks if they sealed a loan move for Alex Cochrane.

By Mark McMahon
Thursday, 16th July 2020, 7:54 am
Brighton defender Alex Cochrane is on Pompey's radar.  Picture: Alex Burstow/Getty Images
Brighton defender Alex Cochrane is on Pompey's radar. Picture: Alex Burstow/Getty Images

That’s the verdict of the Brighton & Hove independent’s Derren Howard, who believes the 20-year-old ‘modern-day’ left-back would provide both defensive steel and attacking verve to the Blues team if a switch was completed.

The News revealed this week that Kenny Jackett had the England under-20 international on his radar as he looks to bring in defensive reinforcements.

Pompey have been left short in the left-back department as they prepare for the 2020-21 season.

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Steve Seddon has returned to parent club Birmingham following a successful loan move – with a Fratton Park comeback unlikely at this stage.

Meanwhile, Lee Brown is technically a free agent following the expiry of his contract – although the Blues continue to talk to the defender as they bid to extend his PO4 stay.

It’s a defensive area that clearly needs bodies added to it.

And Howard believes Pompey would do well in turning to Cochrane, who is highly-regarded by Brighton boss Graham Potter and his staff.

‘Alex is certainly one of the more promising players from the under-23s and Brighton do hold him in high regard,’ said Howard.

‘The 20-year-old made numerous appearances for Albion's under-18s, and stepped up into Simon Rusk's under-23 side for the 2018-19 season.

‘He's a good athlete who defends well, but like most modern-day full-backs he's also very attack-minded and links well with the midfield.

‘He is clever and skilful on the ball and for a young player he also reads the game well and is tactically aware.

‘Alex has a good left foot and is very capable of delivering good crosses into the box when he gets forward.

‘He has been praised for his character and work-rate in training and match-days and he's captained the Albion youth teams on a number of occasions.

‘The youngster has also represented the England under-20s.

‘Brighton hope he can follow a similar path to Aaron Connolly and Steven Alzate, who both benefited from loan spells away from Brighton and returned to force their way into the first team.’

Connolly had a spell at Luton before bursting on to the Premier League scene, while Alzate was sent out to Swindon to gain much-need senior football experience.

Howard believes Cochrane would need time to adjust to the physical demands of League One football.

But the fact manager Potter threw the youngster into Carabao Cup action against an experienced Aston Villa side earlier this season shows he has the ability to adopt to the demands placed on his young shoulders.

Howard added: ‘League One would be a real test for him in terms of stepping up into adult professional football.

‘He's athletic but I guess the physical demands of playing once or twice a week in League One would be nothing like he's experienced before.

‘It will be step into the unknown in that respect.

‘However, he played against Villa in the Carabao Cup earlier this season and did okay.’