Why Ronan Curtis was handed captain's armband at Gillingham in surprise move by Portsmouth boss

Danny Cowley has revealed why he handed Ronan Curtis the captain’s armband at Gillingham.

Pompey captain Ronan Curtis celebrates at Gillingham.
Pompey captain Ronan Curtis celebrates at Gillingham.

The Pompey boss felt the Republic of Ireland international deserved recognition for his recent industry, as he was named skipper in the 1-0 win at Priestfield.

Curtis was given the duty of leading the team their hunt for success in Kent, despite the likes of Joe Morrell and Shaun Williams being involved in the absence of Lee Brown and Clark Robertson.

Cowley felt the 25-year-old warranted the honour, and it was also perhaps a way of ensuring he maintained his recent high-intensity performances.

Cowley said ‘I thought Ronan deserved it.

‘Ronan came out of the transfer window and since it shut he’s given everything for the team.

‘He’s worked incredibly hard.

‘Take Tuesday, there are others who are getting the headlines, but he worked so incredibly hard for the team.

‘I thought his effort was incredible and I wanted him to know his efforts had been recognised.

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‘I thought he emptied his tank on Tuesday with how much effort he put in, and I thought it may just inspire him to find the energy to go again.

‘And so it approved, because he gave another wholehearted performance.’

Pompey’s sixth win of the bounce arrived with a lack of the attacking fluency so prominent on Tuesday night at Lincoln.

Cowley was instead indebted to the likes of Connor Ogilvie and Gavin Bazunu, who made a fine second-half stop to deny John Akide with the home side claiming a penalty.

He added: ‘I thought Gavin was flawless and I thought Connor was great.

‘Kieran and Willo either side of him, too.

‘You shouldn’t underestimate how hard it is to play in a back three when all of them really are playing out of position.

‘Connor has never played in the middle, Kieran is a right-back and Willo a midfielder - yet they did an unbelievable imitation of what you need to do to be a commanding centre-half.

‘I know what a handful and powerful man John Akinde, and what a physical side Gillingham are so to get a second clean sheet was great.’

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