Potential Pompey permanent recruit impresses Jackett

Kenny Jackett is convinced Anton Walkes possesses a bright future.

Thursday, 8th March 2018, 5:00 am
Anton Walkes. Picture: Joe Pepler

And Pompey’s boss will continue to scrutinise the Spurs loanee over the potential for a permanent switch.

Walkes has established himself at right-back – emerging as Jackett’s most effective January recruit.

With six appearances and one goal, the 21-year-old has swiftly settled into life at Fratton Park.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Although contracted to Spurs until the summer of 2019, Pompey have the option to pursue a permanent deal at the season’s end.

And the former Atlanta United loanee has already impressed the Blues’ manager.

Jackett said: ‘Walkes has started the loan spell well.

‘He’s probably had one poor game, which was against Southend when Shayon Harrison got the better of him.

‘But he has done well and it has been good for him.

‘He has settled down in one position and shown good power both defensively and going forward. Hopefully he can build on that.

‘The lad looks like he has the ability to play in the division.

‘If you look at Dion Donohue on the other side, Walkes has hit the ground slightly quicker, although Dion has come up quickly.

‘He has the flexibility to play one or two different positions as well, while at right-back gets forward a little bit more than perhaps Nathan Thompson.

‘Walkes is from Lewisham, a South London boy, so Portsmouth is a big club for him and a big step but he is pleased to be here and has a very good attitude after a year in the MLS.

‘England is where he wants to be and Portsmouth is a big chance for him. So far he has handled playing for Portsmouth okay.

‘More games than not it looks like he has a good future.

‘It is one which we will see towards the end of the season what our options are.’

Of Jackett’s other January arrivals, Stephen Henderson is out injured for the campaign, while Sylvain Deslandes has made one appearance.

Meanwhile, Connor Ronan has featured nine times, of which four have been starts.

Walkes’ first-team involvement has been far more consistent, his right-back presence allowing Nathan Thompson to be pushed forward into midfield.

However, Thompson is presently serving a four-match ban.

Initially upon Walkes’ signing, Jackett mooted him for a midfield role – and he still believes that is an option.

He added: ‘He can play right-back, right centre-half or in the middle of midfield. If we have injuries he can play left-back as well.

‘You need a few players who can play a couple of positions, although I wouldn’t put him much further than that.

‘Overall, he is probably a back-four player with maybe a game or two in the centre of midfield. I’d think he would be able to play anywhere along the back four.’