Who is Portsmouth loan signing Ben Thompson?

Pompey have signed Millwall's Ben Thompson on loan.

Ben Thompson has signed on a season-long loan for Pompey Picture: Colin Farmery
Ben Thompson has signed on a season-long loan for Pompey Picture: Colin Farmery

The 22-year-old central midfielder has become manager Kenny Jackett's eighth new arrival as the manager bids to put together a team with League One promotion credentials.

But who is the Fratton Park newcomer?

Well, let us help you out'¦

Ben Thompson has signed on a season-long loan for Pompey Picture: Colin Farmery

So go on then, who is he?

Well, the fact that our intro to this piece states that Jackett wants to assemble a Pompey squad capable of mounting a serious League One promotion challenge will give you an idea of the calibre of player he's bringing in.

Despite being only 22, Thompson is a player who knows what it takes to compete week in, week out at the top end of the League One table.

During his first full season at The Den (2015-16), the '˜livewire' midfielder '“ that's what it says on Thompson's biography piece on Millwall's official website '“ made 36 appearances and scored two goals as the Lions reached the League One play-off final.

Yes, it ended in a 3-1 defeat to Barnsley and another year of third-tier football for the south Londoners, but it whetted Thompson's appetite and the following season (2016-17) the Millwall die-hard achieved the ultimate goal with his boyhood club '“ promotion.

That year, the former Milwall trainee made 47 appearances for the club as the Lions defeated Bradford 1-0 in the play-off final.

Thompson failed to made the action as his side inflicted defeat on the Bantams at Wembley that Saturday, May 20th day.

But his efforts that season we're recognised as vital to the overall promotion effort.

If he was such a vital player for Millwall, then why's he coming to Pompey on loan?

Okay, so following promotion to the Championship, Thompson has found himself down the pecking order at Millwall.

Currently ahead of him in the queue for midfield slots are the likes of George Saville, Shaun Williams and Ryan Tunnicliffe.

That trio formed the basis of manager Neil Harris central-midfield battleground, limiting Thompson to just eight appearances last season.

Three of those were Championship outings '“ but all came as substitute appearances, meaning the midfielder only played 39 minutes of league football last term.

There was talk of a January loan move to give Thompson more game time, but he was determined to fight his way into his boyhood club's first team.

Speaking at the time, he told the News Shopper: '˜It's been discussed (a loan move) and it's an option so I can't rule it out.

'˜We'll have to wait and see. My priorities are here at Millwall and I want to stay at Millwall.

'˜But obviously, if I need game time then I will go out. We'll have to see what the manager decides and see what the future holds.

'˜I want to play in the first team here and that's the one goal.

'¨'It's frustrating. I want to be in the team and play week in, week out. Not playing is very frustrating. I'm losing match fitness.'

'˜It's a tough one really. I can see I've got three very good players ahead of me that have Championship experience.

'˜It's tough but hopefully I get more chances in the next few weeks and maybe prove myself and stay in the first-team.'

So nothing changed over the summer for him at Millwall?

Sadly not.

Boss Neil Harris still rates the midfielder highly and sees his long-term future at Millwall.

Describing Thompson to the BBC on one occasion, he said: '˜He (Thompson) plays like a fan in a football shirt, but one with real quality.'

However, the above-mentioned trio are still denying Thompson game time, and the player is keen to get more minutes under his belt.

His last Millwall outing was against Gillingham in the Carabao Cup in midweek '“ a game that took his overall appearances to 93.

But with just nine matches played since the end of the 2016-17 season, it appears his patience has finally run out.

Speaking to londonnewsonline.co.uk in July, Thompson said: '˜I've come in for pre-season and obviously, my ultimate goal is to play for Millwall and play in the starting XI.

'˜But if that's not the case, then obviously there's going to be other options for me to go out on loan and get game time somewhere else.

'˜My future's here at Millwall. But if it has to be a six-month loan or a 12-month loan, just to get my game time up and get back used to playing every week, then that might be an option.

'˜Nothing's concrete yet.

'˜I'm training with great players every day '“ all the boys are top quality. That makes me improve '“ but there's only a certain amount of training that you can do.

'˜Games are the most important '“ they're the key to everything '“ because you can't replicate games in training.

'˜I can't have another season like last '“ I only played between five and 10 games. It's not enough. If I'm not in the starting 11, or as close as I can be to it, then I need to go out and play some games.

'˜That would be beneficial to my career and Millwall in the long-term future.'

So what else is there to know about Thompson?

At the end of his first full season (2015-16), the midfielder was named Millwall's young player of the year, while his goal in a 3-1 win against Shrewsbury was voted the club's goal of the season.

As mentioned, he is a massive Millwall fan and came through the ranks at The Den.

His idol is Millwall legend Tim Cahill.

'˜Tim Cahill (is my footballing idol),' he once said.

'˜I used to love watching him play for Millwall. I loved how he played, the goals he scored and his energy in midfield. He's a big legend for the club.'