Kenny Jackett lifts lid on shock Portsmouth omission of skipper Tom Naylor

Kenny Jackett has explained why he dropped skipper Tom Naylor for Pompey’s play-off opener against Oxford United.

Friday, 3rd July 2020, 9:57 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd July 2020, 10:21 pm

The combative midfielder was surprisingly left out of the starting XI for tonight’s Fratton Park first leg – with Bryn Morris instead given the nod.

It was Morris’ first appearance in 15 months following a torrid time with injury.

Jackett was pleased with how his shock selection fared alongside Cameron McGeehan in the holding midfield roles in the 1-1 draw.

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And he revealed the 24-year-old had impressed since the Blues’ return to training following lockdown.

Jackett told The News: ‘Maybe Manchester City against Liverpool were different reasons, but I think it’s the technical sides which have been the best teams in every division.

‘That’s my feeling in my team selection.

‘It was a close call. Tom’s our captain and if we need him he will get going. The other two performed well, they performed as they have done in training.

Skipper Tom Naylor was surprisingly dropped for Pompey against Oxford. Picture: Joe Pepler

‘It’s slightly different football anyway. I do feel the technical sides are the ones which have done well – and that is different to when we finished in the winter.

‘Tom has been first choice, but it’s about the form of the two boys over recent weeks.

‘They have been a good partnership for us in training and the friendly games we’ve had.

‘The last match was almost four months ago and today it is slightly different. You need a more technical player now than maybe you did at that particular time.

‘Bryn has a bit of an all-round game. Tom is a very good player for us as well, but I was pleased with the two boys, they played well against Oxford.’

It represented Morris’ ninth Pompey appearance after joining from Shrewsbury in January 2019.

Injuries have plagued the former England youth international’s time at Fratton Park.

But Jackett insists he never lost belief in the midfielder's ability.

He added: ‘I wouldn’t have brought Bryn here if I didn’t think he was capable – and he’s a very capable player.

‘He’s got a good passing range and we’ll see whether he starts or is on the bench at Oxford on Monday.

‘The good thing is he’s fit and can add to our midfield.’

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