Leon Maloney earns Joe Gallen praise after eye-catching Portsmouth full debut

Picture: Joe Pepler
Picture: Joe Pepler
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Leon Maloney earned Pompey praise following an impressive full debut.

The 18-year-old from the Isle of Wight was handed a maiden start for Kenny Jackett’s side against Crawley last night.

Initially on the left in a 4-4-2 in the Leasing.com Trophy encounter, he operated on the right of a 4-2-3-1 in the second half.

Academy graduate Maloney caught the eye in both roles during the Blues’ 1-0 success in their defence of the competition they won at Wembley in March.

And Pompey’s assistant manager was quick to congratulate him.

Joe Gallen said: ‘Leon did very well in both halves.

‘I thought he was pretty good in the first half, then his confidence grew significantly in the second and, by the end of it, had put some good crosses in, had some good runs, didn’t give the ball away and looked pretty comfortable out there.

‘He played some of the games in pre-season, one of those at Aldershot was as a centre-forward, which I didn’t think really suited him.

‘I think he is better in the wide area and, from there, is very mobile and does have a change of pace.

‘Leon’s got quite a bit of work to do physically to be a first-team player, but that comes with age and comes naturally.

‘He maybe played a bit better on the left if the truth be told, cutting in, and it's nice to have a right footer out there and a natural left-back (Brandon Haunstrup) with a left foot who wants to get really advanced.’