Out-of-form and emotionally explosive - yet Portsmouth's Ronan Curtis cares

In a profession often derided by supporters for lack of passion and absence of heart, Ronan Curtis sticks out.

Monday, 30th September 2019, 6:00 pm
Updated Monday, 30th September 2019, 7:17 pm
Ronan Curtis is replaced by Gareth Evans against Bolton on Saturday Picture: Joe Pepler

There is often a touch of melodrama, an ounce of exaggeration, sometimes excessive whirling of arms befitting a tantruming teenager, yet his is no well-rehearsed act.

At the age of 23, Curtis remains a raw talent and emotionally explosive, whether on the field of play or with Twitter at his fingertips. It’s his nature, he possesses spirit.

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His end product is presently unrecognisable from the player who arrived from Derry in the summer of 2018, albeit those eye-catching energy levels and the enthusiasm refuse to buckle.

Yet none will be more frustrated than the player himself.

Curtis doesn’t need reminding of his ongoing performance issues, certainly he doesn’t require cheers sarcastically greeting his substitution against Bolton.

In truth, the Irishman should have been removed from the firing line at the interval, ensuring there was no grand exit in front of the packed auditorium. Departing through the side door would have been fine.

Kenny Jackett acknowledges a gutted Ronan Curtis following his substitution against Bolton on Saturday. Picture: Joe Pepler

There is also a strong argument he shouldn’t have started the match, such is the absence of form at present. Sometimes a manager demonstrating his faith in a player can be destructive.

As it was, on 62 minutes, Curtis’ replacement in favour of Gareth Evans created an uncomfortable moment – and brutal on a youngster whose confidence has already received a battering.

No question, it was another poor display from the winger amid a uninspiring team showing against the struggling Trotters.

A misplaced pass, taking too many touches inside the box following Brett Pitman’s clever dummy, a wild shot, and an ugly challenge driven by frustration which warranted the yellow card it earned. Curtis’ Saturday contribution in a nutshell.

With the scoreline goalless and a bench from which Jackett sacrificed central defender Paul Downing in favour of more attacking options, the Irishman required substituting.

He left the Fratton Park pitch to scornful cheers and later Tweeted: ‘Could have done with the 12th man today’.

Shortly afterwards it was deleted, an ill-advised outburst, yet indicative of Curtis’ footballing approach. He cares.