Out-of-contract Portsmouth defender Jack Whatmough is destined for the Championship
Danny Cowley believes Jack Whatmough is destined to become a Championship defender - at the very least.
And the Pompey boss has challenged the Gosport lad to become a leader for him in his side’s bid to reach the Championship this season.
Whatmough has played every minute under Cowley and continued his strong form with a faultless showing in the 0-0 draw at Crewe.
After his injury struggles, the 24-year-old has now played 36 games in the final season of his existing agreement.
Cowley has no doubt about the levels Whatmough can reach as he delivered a glowing breakdown of his attributes.
He said: ‘What a player. He was really good, excellent.
‘I love him, loved him since the first minute I saw him. He’s a really good player.
‘I like his defending, I like his willingness and the way he can direct play.
‘I like his footwork, I like his one v one defending and I like his anticipation.
‘We still have some work to do on managing the defensive line, so that can be an add-on for him.
‘I think in possession he’s so calm and has a lovely range of passing.
‘He steps in and fixes players. He keeps making exactly the decision I want him to make at exactly the time I want him to make it. We’ve loved working with him.
‘He’s got a really nice balance of defending first. He’s a centre-half, so they’ve got to defend.
‘It gives it away in the title that they’ve got to defend first, but they’ve then also got to be our first attacker.
‘I wouldn’t want to put a ceiling on how far he can go, to be honest.
‘I’ve seen the Championship and he’s well, well, well capable of that.’
Whatmough is now in his eighth first-team season at Pompey, as the club’s longest-serving senior player.
Fans have seen the England age-group player develop from a young talent of real promise to cornerstone of the starting XI though some hugely testing times.
Cowley now wants to see Whatmough continue that journey by becoming a leader of his Pompey side.
He added: ‘He always needs to keep improving.
‘What does he need to do? I think he needs to keep working on his body position and working on how to manage and organise the defensive line and how to manage moving players around him. That’s leading and leadership.
‘He’s been a young player at Portsmouth - but now he’s a senior player.’
A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron
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