Joe Gallen backs Harvey Rew as one to watch after encouraging Portsmouth debut

Harvey Rew warming up ahead of his Pompey debut at Oxford United in the Leasing.com Trophy. Picture: Graham Hunt/ProSportsImages
Harvey Rew warming up ahead of his Pompey debut at Oxford United in the Leasing.com Trophy. Picture: Graham Hunt/ProSportsImages
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Like the Fratton faithful, Joe Gallen was intrigued to observe Pompey’s latest Academy product in first-team action.

The outcome earned a thumbs up from the Blues’ assistant manager as Harvey Rew produced a confident and nerveless showing at the Kassam Stadium.

By his own admission, Gallen had seen little of the Gosport youngster, who this summer left school to become a first-year scholar.

Nonetheless, with Kenny Jackett requiring a central midfielder for the Leasing.com Trophy trip to Oxford United, Rew received a surprise call up.

And Gallen was heartened by the display delivered by the lad who last month turned 17.

He said: ‘We were looking for a central midfielder and Mark Kelly told us Harvey has done very well in the youth team, not that I see because I am very busy with the first-team.

‘He has trained with us, but not many times, so it’s a new player for me, if I am honest, I’ve not seen him play in a 11v11. The game is the game, where you do your judgement on any player.

‘Harvey didn’t look fazed, was good on the ball and I thought received it well a few times and tried to then pass it forwards.

‘Overall he’s a left-footed player who has played centre-half, left-back and midfield. The decision for the Academy will be where to put him – finding the right spot and position for players can be more important than coaching.

‘Harvey acquitted himself well, mentally it would have been tough against Oxford, slightly daunting playing against men who play very well in League One.’

Rew, who earned a debut booking following a foul, was withdrawn at half-time along with Josh Flint.

According to Gallen, it was a decision driven by the need for greater midfield strength.

He added: ‘We had a lack of physicality about us in general during that first-half period.

‘It helps if you have one young player with 10 senior first-team players, but we had a number of youngsters, especially in the middle of the pitch, with Josh, then Harvey and Andy Cannon.

‘It’s their age – and bringing on Ben Close and Gareth Evans helped us.’