Skipper Pitman’s thriving in Pompey education     

Pompey skipper Brett Pitman in action against the Hawks Picture: Neil Marshall
Pompey skipper Brett Pitman in action against the Hawks Picture: Neil Marshall
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Brett Pitman is learning, still gathering wisdom to galvanise.

Only Mo Salah, Harry Kane, Jack Marriott and Marc McNulty netted more than the prolific striker in England’s top four divisions last season.

Yet the 30-year-old’s footballing education is ongoing as he continues to familiarise himself with the Pompey captaincy.

It’s a prized responsibility presented upon Pitman’s Blues arrival in July 2017, succeeding League Two title-winning skipper Michael Doyle.

A rookie to the role, yet Kenny Jackett identified the former Bournemouth man’s powerful vocal presence and commitment to the cause as comprehensive vote winners.

It’s a duty Pitman relishes as he continues to adjust to accompanying demands.

He said: ‘I have really enjoyed the captaincy, it’s nice to have the extra responsibility.

‘Throughout my career I’ve played under some really good captains, so you kind of try to take a little bit, but obviously you’ve got to be your own man.

‘It is something I am still learning, but I’m enjoying it.

‘You learn to deal with different situations, which is probably more off the pitch than on it, yet it’s something I feel I am doing well at.

‘How to be a captain is not really written in stone, everyone has their own stamp on it. I wouldn’t say I was a certain type, I try to lead by example, try to win, that’s the main thing.

‘Naturally, I’m someone in the referee’s ear, trying to get decisions. If it’s not you then the opposition are going to be doing it.

‘At times last season we probably missed a couple of experienced people in the middle of the park to do that. If someone else is involved that means I don’t have to and we did miss it.

‘Adam May and Ben Close are both young and it probably doesn't come naturally to them, whereas if you’ve got Danny Rose or, before him, Michael Doyle, it can help the team.

‘They’ve been doing it for 10 or more years, they know what to do. It definitely helps to have somebody just reminding the referee to keep giving you fouls and free-kicks, it can’t do any harm.

‘I’m the same, I’m someone who wants to win, that’s the main thing.

‘I hate losing, like everybody does, and if think something needs to be said then I’ll say it – and if someone needs encouragement I will encourage them, that is how it is.

‘I don’t think being captain affects how I do on the pitch, to be honest. I would still play exactly the same if I wasn’t captain.

‘I would never change just because I’m captain, definitely not. And to have that role at a club like Portsmouth is an honour.’

Pitman reaped 25 goals from his maiden Pompey campaign, becoming the first player to break the 20-goal barrier since Svetoslav Todorov in 2003.

As skipper, he was the fulcrum of Jackett’s side which reached eighth in League One, while as the decisive goalscorer he was its inspiration.

Following Rose’s return from injury and the addition of experienced pair Lee Brown and Tom Naylor, the squad boasts more senior voices this term.

As ever, the dominant force is Pitman, who will once again lead the Blues for the 2018-19 campaign.

And he can draw on captaincy influences from many he has served under during his career.

He added: ‘Tommy Elphick was someone I was with when we won both leagues at Bournemouth, while there was Neil Young when I was a lot younger there.

‘With someone like Darren Anderton, you wouldn’t say he was a natural captain, but he was very good because he led by example. He didn’t need to shout because of what he was doing with the ball.

‘Luke Chambers at Ipswich was also very good off the pitch.

‘The captaincy issue wasn't something overly discussed before I signed for Portsmouth, to be honest.

‘If I wasn’t going to be captain it wouldn’t have changed my decision to come here, I was desperate to sign for Portsmouth, it was something I really wanted and pushed hard to make happen.

‘I took a pay cut and dropped a division, I wanted to join Portsmouth because I thought we’d be successful – and I still think that.

‘I enjoy the responsibility of the captaincy and am looking forward to doing it again this year.’