Portsmouth favourite: Brilliant ex-Manchester City keeper Gavin Bazunu reminds me of Chelsea's Reece James - and Southampton recruit will do 'great things'

Gavin Bazunu is destined to follow in the footsteps of Chelsea and international star Reece James.

Thursday, 23rd June 2022, 4:30 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd June 2022, 4:37 pm

That’s the verdict of Michael Jacobs, who has played alongside both and marvelled at their blossoming careers.

Bazunu was an outstanding Fratton Park presence last term, thriving under the tutelage of Danny Cowley.

For Jacobs, it was reminiscent of Chelsea’s James, who made 46 appearances and netted three times in the 2018-19 campaign as a Wigan team-mate.

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In the process, the highly-regarded right-back collected the Latics’ Player of the Season award, while was named in the Championship Team of the Year.

Since then, James has totalled 123 Chelsea outings and 13 England caps.

And Jacobs anticipates the career of new Southampton signing Bazunu will follow a similar trajectory.

The Blues attacker told The News: ‘I’ve been lucky enough to play with some really good players.

Reece James was a team-mate of Michael Jacobs during their time at Wigan together. Picture: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

‘We had Reece James come to Wigan for his first loan spell and he’s gone on to be an England international and Chelsea regular.

‘Gavin reminded me of him in terms of his mindset, the way he conducted himself and how he wants to improve every day.

‘He was at a fantastic football club in Manchester City, but instead of sitting at City for 5-6 years, maybe going out on loan here and there, he wants to prove he’s capable of playing on a regular basis for a Premier League club.

‘Gavin is capable of playing at the very highest level and is only going to get better.

Former Pompey loanee Gavin Bazunu last week joined Southampton from Manchester City. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages

‘That mindset, dedication and quality at that age, I’d put him in the same bracket of Reece James and Will Hughes.

‘At Derby, Will Hughes came through at 16 and was playing regularly in the Championship, you could see traits in such players that they’re going to have fantastic careers.

‘With Gavin, you could tell as soon as he came on that first day at Pompey.

‘We’ve got another fantastic goalkeeper in Alex Bass, but you could see Gavin would be one of those that set the tone with the way he played his feet and his saves.

‘His mindset didn’t change. Regardless of whether he had a fantastic game, he’d come in and want to improve, even more so when he made the odd mistake here and there.

‘He’s a really humble, nice kid as well. Hopefully he goes on to do really well – I can see him probably doing great things.’

Despite his admiration for Bazunu, Jacobs’ vote for last term’s Pompey Players’ Player of the Season went to Sean Raggett.

He also considers ex-Wolves man Carl Ikeme as another outstanding goalkeeper he played alongside.

Jacobs added: ‘He’s up there in terms of keepers I’ve played with. Carl Ikeme was probably one of the best.

‘You don’t really see many young goalkeepers of that age with such ability to win you matches or keep you in games.

‘He wants to save the shots that no-one would expect him to save, whether in training or in games.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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