No longer Mr Versatile - Kenny Jackett pinpoints Anton Walkes' perfect Portsmouth first-team fit

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Kenny Jackett believes he has finally identified a home for the nomadic Anton Walkes – in the centre of midfield.

For almost two-and-a-half years the former Spurs man has provided a versatile presence within the Blues’ squad.

Kenny Jackett believes Anton Walkes has finally found his Pompey role. Picture: Joe Pepler

Kenny Jackett believes Anton Walkes has finally found his Pompey role. Picture: Joe Pepler

His 58 first-team appearances have largely been accumulated at right-back, often as a reliable stand-in.

However, there have been outings at centre-half, left-back and, of course, a holding midfield role.

Walkes actually started the campaign as Jackett’s first-choice right-back, yet in recent weeks turned his hand to serving as the injured Tom Naylor’s deputy.

And Pompey’s boss has been convinced the position best suits the 22-year-old.

Jackett said: ‘Anton came as the classic utility player – centre-back, right-back, central midfield – but I feel he is more suited to midfield.

‘He is robust, has athleticism and looks more comfortable on the ball in the centre of midfield than right-back.

‘I generally play Tom Naylor in that role, but Anton hasn’t let anybody down. He came on quite early for Tom at Harrogate and we’ve won every game since.

‘In terms of a player being versatile, there is quite a big debate about that one. Being a jack of all trades and master of none is one thing – but if you can play more than one position you have more opportunities to get into the team.

‘It depends on your thinking, really.

‘As you progress towards your mid-20s, you will want to get into one role and try to hold it down.

‘You do need some variable players, though, and Anton has also done okay at left-back when needed for us.’

With Naylor expected to remain sidelined for forthcoming games against Altrincham and Northampton, Walkes’ first-team run will continue.

And with a maximum return from his three matches so far, Jackett is comfortable with that ongoing midfield presence.

He added: ‘Anton came as quite a variable player, but more of his chances have come at right-back.

‘Mainly it was Nathan Thompson who played right-back and Anton will be looking at being more than a utility player who fills in.

‘I see his game as being suited to the holding role in midfield.’