Pompey boss challenges popular attacker not to become pigeonholed at Fratton Park
The former Bournemouth striker has mainly shone as a substitute for the Blues this season
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Christian Saydee has been challenged not to become pigeonholed as an impact player.
That’s the message from John Mousinho as the 21-year-old strives to establish himself as a regular Pompey starter.
The former Bournemouth man has enjoyed an encouraging start to life at Fratton Park, swiftly winning over supporters with his powerful and strong-running displays.
However, Mousinho believes Saydee has so far been at his most effective when coming off the bench, having featured as a substitute eight times.
And he wants the attacker to demonstrate he can also influence the Blues when promoted to the starting XI.
Pompey’s head coach told The News: ‘One of the challenges Christian has to overcome is starting matches.
‘Sometimes he can be slow coming into games when he starts, but then he really grows into it. Peterborough in the league was a really good example. He was excellent in the second half, having not seen a huge amount in the first half.
‘We know that, whenever he comes on after half-time, he lifts the crowd, he does things which are different. I don’t think he’s a particularly nice player to face because he is so physical, strong, quick, he makes things happen and is good with the ball as well.
‘We don’t see him as an impact substitute, but we want him to contribute from the start. That's up to him to make sure he produces those consistent performances.
‘That’s the challenge for everyone and Christian in particular, because of the impact he has off the bench. You never want to be labelled as one of those impact substitutes.
‘We know Christian has the capabilities to do it from the start because he has done in a few games and played really well.
‘We want to make sure he builds on that and forces his way into the starting line-up on a regular basis.’
Saydee has two goals in 17 games for the Blues, yet has started at centre-forward just twice.
Instead Mousinho has converted him to a role behind the lone striker, a responsibility which poses different demands on the youngster.
He added: ‘We have moved him from an out-and-out centre-forward to just playing behind the front man, which he has coped with really well.
‘Although it means we have taken him 10-15 yards away from goal, so those opportunities are much fewer than last season when he was playing number nine for Shrewsbury.
‘So it's a different position, but has suited Christian really well. At the minute he has to do a bit of both, he has to try to challenge for both spots.
‘You can chop and change the front three behind the centre-forward and be creative with it. It’s a challenge for him to make it his own.’