Stevens: Pompey left-back rivals drive me on

Enda Stevens has revealed how increased left-back competition is driving his Pompey displays forward.

Wednesday, 21st September 2016, 6:01 am
Updated Wednesday, 5th October 2016, 2:18 pm
Pompey left-back Enda Stevens Picture: Joe Pepler

The Irishman has been one of the Blues’ most consistent performers so far this season.

Continuing where he left off last term, he has contributed two assists and three clean sheets during his seven appearances.

The re-emergence of Kal Naismith, coupled with Brandon Haunstrup’s recent return from a shoulder injury, has ramped up the pressure on Stevens to deliver.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

It’s increased competition which has left the 26-year-old glancing over his shoulder.

But the attacking full-back has every intention of retaining his regular first-team spot.

He said: ‘I am doing okay this season, although there’s more to come from me.

‘It was probably a slow start, but I’m building a bit of confidence now and have two assists, I just need to keep going.

‘I did well enough last season, there is always room for improvement and I’m going to focus on that.

‘You look around the team and we have great competition at centre-back, great competition for strikers, players competing for the three behind, that’s what keeps people on their toes.

‘You need that, you need to fear for your position so when you get it you have to keep it.

‘Kal has come in and done well in the games he has been given a chance in, setting up goals. He’s got great talent and is definitely competition.

‘In the reserve game against Barnsley he played really well at left-back. He has played there for Accrington a few times and his ability gets him through games.

‘Brandon is back in training and it is now about him being careful with his shoulder and getting back into the swing of things.

‘He’s a great player who has grown and improved a lot since last season, which he will do because he is still only young.

‘The lad has all the ability to go on and have a good career.

‘Everyone has competition for places, it keeps people on their toes and gives you something to worry about.’

All three of Naismith’s first-team starts this season have come at left-back – in place of Stevens.

He scored a stunning free-kick in the Capital One Cup at Coventry, while weighed in with two assists against Yeovil in the Checkatrade Trophy.

In addition, in the recent Premier League Cup victory over Barnsley, Naismith was outstanding at full-back.

As for Haunstrup, he is now back in training having dislocated his shoulder in pre-season.

The 19-year-old marked his return by yesterday featuring for the reserves against Newport County.

Stevens added: ‘The thing with this squad, by the looks of it, everyone is ready to play, the personnel doesn’t matter, it’s the same job.

‘There’s competition everywhere.’