How Joe Hancott became Portsmouth's youngest player - before he even got his GCSE results

Joe Hancott surveyed his Pompey record and declared: hats off to the person who beats it.

Tuesday, 30th March 2021, 7:00 am

The left-back announced his departure from Fratton Park last week, having made a full recovery from his long-term knee injury.

He leaves after making three Blues appearances – and can still brag he’s the youngest player in the club's post-war history.

Hancott was handed his debut aged 16 and 161 days in Pompey's 3-3 Checkatrade Trophy draw with Fulham under-21s in August 2017.

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Making his bow before he even received his GCSE results, the Isle of Wight defender eclipsed the 17-and-a-half year record previously held by ex-Fratton favourite Gary O'Neill.

Hancott exits Pompey honoured that he achieved the feat and reckons it won't be broken any time soon.

He told The News: ‘It's a privilege to have played for Pompey at any level, but to do it at first-team level and be in the history books is unreal.

‘It's the icing on the cake to make my debut so young and it was an honour.

Joe Hancott in action on his Pompey debut in August 2017. Picture: Joe Pepler

‘I'm still really proud of what I did achieve. Some people might say I never reached my full potential but I'm really proud.

‘It's an honour to have that record and whoever beats it, it'll take some doing, but hats off to them if they do!

‘It was nuts because I'd just started my scholarship and hadn't even had my GCSE results. I left school at the end of June, started my scholarship in July, played the game in August then went to pick my GCSE results up a week later.

‘Everyone at school couldn't believe it and it was class seeing all my friends because they were buzzing.

‘My mum and dad couldn't believe it because it was so soon. It all happened so fast and I was so focused on the game, you don't really take anything in. Looking back on it, it was unreal.’

A season-ending knee injury to Tareiq Holmes-Dennis on his Pompey bow paved the way for Hancott’s outing against Fulham.

That evening he rubbed shoulders with Jamal Lowe and Conor Chaplin – who are both vying to reach the Premier League this season with Swansea and Barnsley respectively.

Hancott added: ‘Tareiq Holmes-Dennis had got injured and they didn't want to risk Brandon Haunstrup, who was the only other left-back.

‘I'd been training with the first team and had done well considering my age.

‘I'd travelled to Oxford on the Saturday as 19th man then got told on the Monday morning I was playing the next day

‘The night before I was okay, it was after the game when I couldn't sleep because I was buzzing and my phone was going mad.

‘I saw the team the other day. I had Kal Naismith in front of me, Jack Whatmough next to me, Jamal Lowe played, Ben Close played and Conor Chaplin came on.

‘It was brilliant and that made it a lot easier.’

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