Determined Anton Walkes reveals drive behind Portsmouth right-back challenge
Anton Walkes has undergone the most gruelling off-season training programme of his career.
Now the ever-improving 22-year-old is banking on claiming Pompey’s vacant right-back slot.
Kenny Jackett has already credited the former Spurs man with developing at encouraging pace as he enters his third season at Fratton Park.
It’s progress Walkes puts down to the implementation of a personal training plan designed to bolster his first-team aspirations.
As a consequence, he is adamant he returned for pre-season fitter than ever – and primed to launch a challenge for Nathan Thompson’s empty position.
And Walkes is convinced he is currently reaping the rewards of those summer endeavours.
He said: ‘I have worked the hardest I’ve ever done in terms of my off-season programme, so being in such good condition has made this pre-season very enjoyable.
‘I’ve focused on my training and my diet, I’ve tried to work as hard as I can and it has put me into a good position where I’ve come back fitter than I was last year.
‘I want to improve and it’s about making sure I’m ready.
‘The body has to prepare for a long season and you ensure that by managing yourself in the right way. I feel absolutely fantastic.
‘I have the chance to be right-back, I know that’s important, but at the moment I’m trying to be the best within myself.
‘If I can do that, I have a strong feeling the gaffer will back me and I’ll get more games.’
Walkes is presently staking his claim to Pompey’s right-back slot in the injury absence of summer recruit James Bolton.
And he struck the bar in Saturday’s 1-0 victory at Stevenage in his latest outing.
He added: ‘It’s just about making sure I’m getting the most out of myself, whether that’s on the pitch or not, I must conduct myself 24/7.
‘I’m far from the finished article and you look at people like Jamal Lowe and Matt Clarke, for example.
‘Those guys work and work and work and it’s no coincidence they have been our best players over the past few years.’