Kenny Jackett lifts lid on Ronan Curtis' impressive Portsmouth rejuvenation

Kenny Jackett has lifted the lid on the factors behind Ronan Curtis’ Pompey revitalisation.

Thursday, 12th December 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 12th December 2019, 6:05 am

The Irishman has roared back to form after returning to the Blues’ starting line-up six weeks ago.

A hamstring problem and ongoing struggles to reach his best performance levels had seen him removed from the firing line, with Marcus Harness instead employed on the left.

Since a goal-scoring comeback at Bristol Rovers, Curtis has netted five times in eight matches, with Pompey unbeaten in all.

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Revitalised Ronan Curtis battles with Peterborough's Nathan Thompson in last weekend's 2-2 draw. Picture: Joe Pepler

And Jackett has pinpointed the source of the welcome resurgence for his goal-scoring winger.

Pompey’s boss said: ‘With Ronan, probably the header at Bristol Rovers gave him a lot of confidence and, from there, he has stepped on.

‘There has also been a breather at the right time, he needed it. Maybe that injury was part of it, but wasn’t all of it.

‘We took him off at half-time in the FA Cup and didn’t use him in the Trophy match. I have three good wingers and can play it a little bit better than last year.

‘As ever, there has been some honesty: “Come on, don’t be so predictable where you are cutting inside and shooting all the time, there have to be some left-foot crosses”.

‘Possibly even Lee Brown coming back has helped, creating a good link down the left, those two have been pretty good, there is some understanding there.

‘Ronan has deserved the backing he’s received since he’s been here, he is the one that has earned it and has to continue to earn it.

‘I hope he is back to his best. He wants it for himself, the club and other players, he has a good appetite to work hard, a good appetite to improve and a good appetite to win.’

Curtis has scored 19 goals in 70 appearances since arriving from the League of Ireland Premier Division.

He instantly slotted into Pompey’s attacking left-sided slot in Jackett’s favoured 4-2-3-1, enjoying an impressive maiden campaign.

In recent weeks, there have been encouraging signs he is recapturing that form following this term’s early-season lull.

And Jackett revealed he has taken the Irishman to one side to remind him of the wing attributes required to succeed.

He added: ‘There is always some assessment. You have to link play a little bit, keep the ball sometimes, put in some left-footed crosses, sometimes make two or three set-up passes with your left-back and to play him in.

‘Also perhaps, in safety terms, not give the ball away.

‘Ronan has stuck at it and hopefully can maintain his development.’