John Marquis earmarked for stint in Portsmouth number 10 role

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John Marquis is primed to be assigned Pompey’s number 10 role on a regular basis.

The Blues are delighted with the 27-year-old’s maiden outing in the unfamiliar position against Southend on Tuesday evening.

Operating behind the recalled Ellis Harrison in Kenny Jackett’s favoured 4-2-3-1 system, Marquis grabbed the pivotal goal to break the deadlock on the stroke of half-time.

Yet it was the striker's all-round display in a deeper-lying role which impressed Joe Gallen.

And the assistant boss insists Pompey are now prepared to hand Marquis a run in a position previously filled by Gareth Evans and Brett Pitman this season.

Gallen said: ‘Southend play with three at the back and two in midfield, so we wanted to put Ellis and John together and thought it would be an ideal time.

‘We also believed it would create a positive stadium from the off once supporters saw the team sheet – and I’m pleased in the context of that game it worked.

‘I thought the fans would be very receptive to the team and the two boys playing nine and 10.

‘John was a bit deeper because you have to be in midfield, you can't be thinking like a centre-forward when the ball is in the middle of the pitch. You need to win it first at times and work the ball up and around the goalscoring area.

‘The goalscorers are waiting for that last part, but what about that pass in order to get to that bit?

‘We think Ellis is an out-and-out number nine. The more John plays in this different role, the better he will get – and he played well against Southend.

‘It will be slightly different for him by the next game and the next game, he could actually end up playing there.

‘In effect, it is 12 yards behind the striker, but still an attacking role. There is a defensive side he also needs to understand.’

With Marquis’ mobility and high levels of work-rate in the number 10 role, Pompey claimed a 4-1 victory over Southend.

In addition, there was a fourth goal of a season in which the former Doncaster man has yet to recapture his scoring power.

Gallen added: ‘At times, I thought John did fantastic.

‘There was one moment from a throw-in where he let it run across his body and let fly with his left foot from 35 yards, so we are looking for that sort of ability from that position on the pitch.

‘John has a lot of attributes to play there, he has the running side of the game but also a very good touch and can come in from the deep and get more chances.’