Meet the Portsmouth Academy goalkeeper and England youth prospect rising rapidly through Fratton Park's ranks

He’s the England youth prospect earmarked for a bright Pompey future.

Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 12:00 pm

With Gavin Bazunu on international duty and Alex Bass suffering from coronavirus, Jake Eastwood was brought in from Sheffield United on an emergency seven-day loan for the 5-3 defeat.

However, he was backed up by promising goalkeeper Steward, a former Henry Cort Community College pupil who Danny Cowley admits has caught the eye while training with the first-team this season.

Sign up to our Portsmouth FC newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The first-year scholar, who has been at Fratton Park since under-10 level, recently attended a four-day England training camp at St George’s Park.

His family hail from Whiteley, with dad, Gary, the colts coordinator at Burridge Cricket Club, while also serving as its welfare officer.

And Pompey have high hopes for the youngster, who has already put in some excellent displays for the table-topping Academy side.

Cowley told The News: ‘Toby has been away with England and done very well, we have high hopes for him.

Portsmouth youngster Toby Steward was on the bench for the 4-3 defeat at AFC Wimbledon in the Papa John's Trophy on Tuesday night. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages

‘His dad works at Burridge Cricket club coaching, he was in the middle of coaching when I recently turned up there to see him. We had a good chat about Toby, because he has a real chance.

‘He is only 16 and has trained with us a lot, probably trained with us most out of all the kids.’

Meanwhile, second-year scholar goalkeeper Conor Manderson has joined Hythe & Dibden on loan.

The Northern Ireland under-19 international linked up with the Sydenhams Wessex League Premier Division club towards the end of last month.

On Saturday, an 8-0 defeat at the hands of Fareham means they presently occupy the bottom of the table.

Cowley added: ‘Conor is playing at Hythe, a team which are having a tough time of it, but he’s getting lots to do, which is great.

‘Look at Gavin Bazunu, he had lots to do last year (at Rochdale) and it didn’t do him any harm.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

The News has launched a subscription offer which gives you unlimited access to all of our Pompey coverage, starting at less than 14p a day.

You can subscribe here to get the latest news from Fratton Park - and to support our local team of expert Pompey writers.