Proof Of Youth?

Last updated : 04 April 2013 By Jim Bonner

If there has been one positive to take from this wretched season it is the emergence of some of Pompey's best youth prospects for years.

It has been the norm to see most of the south's young talent come from Southampton in recent years as Portsmouth academy youngsters were usually deemed "not good enough" by whichever manager was in charge at the time.

Matt Ritchie and maybe Marlon Pack excepted, they were usually right and our football club has not had a reputation of producing any young players who have made an impact in professional football.

However that looks to have changed with Pompey's latest batch of youth players making a name for themselves in League One.

Jed Wallace already looks like he is going to be a star. The 19-year-old has a superb goalscoring record at Whitehawk (13 goals in 14 games) and has instantly transferred that form to his parent club, scoring 5 goals since his league debut as a substitute at Swindon on New Year's Day.

Dan Butler is another player who looks like he'll go far. Eyebrows were raised when he was recalled from Havant & Waterlooville early and placed straight into the starting eleven for Pompey's bottom-of-the-table clash with Hartlepool.

After a shaky start the 18-year-old left back has impressed people so much that the media had reported him as wanted by the likes of Manchester City.

And there lies the problem of how Pompey are going to be able to keep hold of their talented youngsters for too long. Another young player in Jack Maloney is beginning to make a name for himself and should continue to improve before the season is out.

It has already been reported that Pompey have rejected bids for their prized assets and it will be interesting to see how the Trust acts if (or when) they take control of the club. Will they be tempted to cash in?

Hopefully they won't be, but even then if our young stars continue to improve their game then it'll only be a matter of time before they'll want to leave Portsmouth to better their careers.

We can only hope that they do not make a hasty decision and they decide to stick with us for next season in League Two. I personally think they will but even if they don't, at least the finances will get a timely boost.

And then it'll be down to the likes of Dan Thompson, George Colson and Alex Grant to step up to the plate.