Haji Mnoga admits it's time to grow up following Portsmouth return from freak injury at Victorious Festival

Haji Mnoga feels it’s time he showed his maturity after making his injury return.

Saturday, 11th January 2020, 8:00 am
Updated Saturday, 11th January 2020, 8:05 am

The Pompey defender acknowledged he has some growing up to do after being sidelined with a freak foot injury picked up at Victorious Festival in August.

There’s no suggestion the Fratton lad’s behaviour was not what would be expected of him, but he admitted there was frustration at the injury arriving when he’d linked up with the first team.

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The academy graduate has made that a target after being handed a senior deal, and feels he will have to show his development as a person to do so.

Mnoga said: ‘The most frustrating thing for me was my pre-season. I felt I had a really good pre-season.

‘I was involved with the first team a lot and I was performing well.

Haji Mnoga on his Pompey return on Tuesday. Picture: Paul Thompson/ProSportsImages

‘I was doing a lot of extras as well. I was doing a lot of runs.

‘You can look at it two ways, that I’ve lost everything that I’ve put in.

‘Mentally I have to go out there and not get nerves with my foot anymore. Sometimes I can put up a niggle and it’s a bit worrying.

‘I don’t think it’s something that’s set me back too much, but it’s something to learn from really.

‘I feel like that the timing wasn’t the best but it was a big learning curve for me to mature.

‘I could see I should’ve been playing and I could’ve played in the youth cup but missed out through the injury.

‘It’s disappointing and frustrating but I’m just really happy to be back and I’m enjoying playing.’

Since recovering from injury, Mnoga has been kept in the senior set-up by Kenny Jackett for training, and got first-team minutes under the belt in the 2-1 EFL Trophy win at Walsall on Tuesday.

So he doesn’t feel league action before the end of the season is unrealistic.

Mnoga added: ‘I enjoy playing with my age group and they are my team-mates.

‘But it’s nice to be pushed on with the older players, because that’s the level I want to be at.

‘Being constantly around them makes me feel I’m maybe developing a little bit quicker as a player. I just enjoy it.

‘I’ve missed playing football so it was good to be out there and show what I can do.

‘I’m second (choice) in that position at the moment. If I keep pushing to do the extra work I can do it.’