How Portsmouth have rebuilt and reconstructed ex-Norwich and Swindon man Louis Thompson - and now they're ready to unleash him

Pompey are ready to unleash a remodelled Louis Thompson on League One.

By Neil Allen
Tuesday, 7th September 2021, 4:55 am
Louis Thompson is poised for his first taste of Pompey action in tonight's Papa John's Trophy clash at AFC Wimbledon. Picture: Joe Pepler
Louis Thompson is poised for his first taste of Pompey action in tonight's Papa John's Trophy clash at AFC Wimbledon. Picture: Joe Pepler

The 26-year-old is poised to finally be handed his Blues bow in tonight’s Papa John’s Trophy trip to AFC Wimbledon.

Signed early last month, Thompson has undergone a intense programme to modify his body, designed to end the injury problems blighting a once highly-promising career.

Cowley initially estimated the process could take six weeks – now the ex-Norwich midfielder is in the frame to feature at Plough Lane this evening (7.45pm).

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And a potential first glimpse of Thompson in competitive action is a tantalising prospect for the Blues’ head coach.

Cowley told The News: ‘Louis is a really lovely footballer, we’ve just got to try to keep him fit and we’re doing lots of work with him behind the scenes.

‘Just imagine, you’ve spent 26 years of your life training and moving one way – and now we have started to make shifts in changes.

‘You can do it in the gym in isolated closed situations, but, when you get into the game, you then have to rely on yourself.

‘We have been really affecting him physically – yet Louis is technically and tactically a top League One player already.

‘It’s his power, pace and athleticism, he’s very dynamic both in possession and out of possession, receiving very well.

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‘He’s a good passer of the ball, has a level of intelligence tactically, is able to see his space but also create space for others, while is physically robust enough in duels.

‘I think he can be a really exciting one for us.

‘From watching him train in the last 10 days, I have a feeling he is going to give me a real problem because we have some competition in that area.

‘He’s had such a frustrating time. He did brilliantly for Swindon, got a fairy tale move to Norwich and just hasn’t been able to stay injury-free since then.

‘He’s a great kid, he’s got such a commitment to it, such a work ethic, and hopefully we have managed to change what he does.’

Thompson left Norwich by mutual consent in late July, linking up for a Fratton Park trial days later.

He came off the bench for 13 minutes in the pre-season friendly against Peterborough, prompting supporters to chant ‘Sign him up’.

However, his sole first-team involvement during the League One campaign so far has been as an unused substitute at Wigan.

Cowley added: ‘Louis was over-strong and we’ve been doing a lot of yoga with him.

‘On his recovery days, he’s been doing hot yoga, with more of a focus on flexibility and range and the way he recruits his muscles.

‘He over recruits some muscles and under recruits others and, as a consequence, is susceptible to some soft-tissue injuries.

‘We’ve got to try to affect how his body works and his biomechanics and movement patterns, which is a process which doesn’t happen overnight.

‘We are trying to get his hips starting in a better position – and are getting there.’

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