Portsmouth winger Marcus Harness: I've not been played to my strengths - I want to be adventurous again

Marcus Harness is relishing the removal of the Pompey shackles – and reigniting his goal touch.

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 5:30 pm

The winger netted the winner against Ipswich on Saturday, representing his first in 23 appearances.

Harness’ goal return had suffered since the start of November, when he was restored to flank duties following a brief eye-catching flourish as a second striker.

The 26-year-old admits that subsequent Kenny Jackett positional change inhibited his ‘strengths’, impacting on Harness’ effectiveness.

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Yet on Saturday, new head coach Danny Cowley opted to play the ex-Burton man on the right flank – but with crucial differences.

Harness told The News: ‘Not scoring bothered me for a while, but then I just came to terms with it.

‘Ultimately, I had been asked to play a different role. I was still looking to score and create, but was getting more of the ball in wide areas and looking to cross.

‘Rather than being in and around the goal, I was playing more of a deeper role, not being as adventurous.

Marcus Harness believes ex-Pompey manager Kenny Jackett's preferred role for him didn't bring out his strengths. Picture: Joe Pepler

‘I am confident that if I’m having two or three shots in a game, I’m going to score. But there have been periods where I’ve had a shot or two a month.

‘Against Ipswich, the new manager kept me further upfield, being on the front foot to press the full-back instead of sometimes staying in my slot and trying to win second balls.

‘It’s about going and getting after it, which is what I am doing and am better at.

‘Different games need a different role, so sometimes I might have to sit more, but hopefully that can change now and I can show more of what I’m good at.

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‘I want to show the fans what they wish to see, I like to get them on the edge of their seats.

‘Hopefully I can do some more of that and we can step forward as a team and improve.’

Harness’ nine goals in 37 appearances last year represented the best seasonal haul of his career.

This term he bagged seven in his opening 12 outings – then one in his next 29.

However, on Saturday, his 72nd-minute strike earned Pompey victory in Cowley’s first match in charge.

Harness added: ‘At the end of the day, we are a team and sometimes you have to give up something you want to be doing to benefit the team.

‘I feel like I’ve been doing that, despite it not being my strength. I actually believe I play better centrally.

‘But playing out wide now might be a different job from what I’ve previously been asked to do. Hopefully it will suit me a bit more.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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