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Calm And Collected

15 March 2014

Barker full of praise for Whatmough

It was a surprise to see Jack Whatmough’s name on the team sheet at Highbury Stadium.

The teenage academy graduate had not featured for the first team since New Year’s Day.

But fit again following a knee injury and with an England under-18 appearance still fresh in the memory, he was given a chance to impress in midfield against Fleetwood.

And, despite Pompey slipping to a 3-1 defeat, Whatmough did enough to impress Richie Barker.

The Blues boss said: “Jack’s 17 and was playing a bit out of position – although I think he can do well there.

“He did everything we asked him to do. He was calm and collected and dealt with the ball well, while not being intimated by a physical confrontation.

“I went and watched him for England recently against top international players and he just got on with it.

“When we were going through the shape and what we wanted to do, you could see it wasn’t phasing him.”

Pompey were trailing 3-0 against Fleetwood before Jed Wallace came off the bench and struck a superb consolation.

Barker said: “He was excellent when he came on. We changed the formation, asked him to do something different and he looked a real threat.

“Their goalkeeper then pulled off a top class save from Joe Devera’s header and if that had gone in it would have been an interesting last 15 minutes.

“It was a difficult place to come against a side who are doing well at the top of the league and we more than matched them for long periods.”

Toumani Diagouraga was named captain for his final game before the end of his loan spell from Brentford, but Barker is confident the deal can be extended.

He said: “He’s done a good job in midfield and it would be a blow if he left. I’m wary about saying anything before it’s signed, but we’re hopeful.”

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