Burgess can become king of miserly Pompey defence

Christian Burgess. Picture: Joe Pepler
Christian Burgess. Picture: Joe Pepler

Christian Burgess has been challenged to become Pompey’s defensive leader.

Enda Stevens feels Burgess can become the rock upon which his side build their stability at the back.

Stevens has lauded the 25-year-old’s natural talent and ability to be able to cruise through games.

Burgess was praised for his performance in last weekend’s 1-0 victory at Cambridge United.

The former Peterborough man picked up man-of-the-match plaudits as he played a key role in repelling the U’s in the second half.

Paul Cook has aired the view Burgess, like his team, can defend when they come under pressure from sides.

He feels the lapses arrive from a position of comfort when Pompey are dominating.

That has been borne out by some of the weak goals conceded so far this campaign.

Stevens, though, feels Burgess can play a key role in ensuring those shortcomings are put to bed.

And he has no doubt he has all the assets to become a lynchpin in a miserly back four, as they bid to keep Wycombe quiet in the FA Cup tomorrow.

Stevens said: ‘Christian is Christian. Christian can stroll through a game any day of the week.

‘It’s just about driving on and really taking command of the back four.

‘Maybe he needs to be under pressure. He doesn’t come under much pressure but, when he does, he comes through it.

‘He needs to become the leader he can be.

‘I think he can do that because he’s got it all.

‘He’s got the all the attributes. He can play football, head the ball and defend one-on-one.

‘This season could be really big for him to take control and command the back four.’

Victory at Cambridge last weekend saw Pompey pick up their sixth clean sheet of the season.

That arrived after a run of four shut outs from five league games earlier in the campaign.

The resolute nature of the performance was underlined as Cook’s side repelled Cambridge’s push for an equaliser over the final 30 minutes after Amine Linganzi was sent off.

It was evidence Pompey do possess the defensive minerals to fend off an attacking charge – something many have questioned is not in their make-up.

Stevens said: ‘The performance gave us a lot of confidence.

‘Christian came into the game in the second half at Cambridge, especially when we went down to 10 men.

‘He took control of things and he didn’t miss a header. He was excellent.

‘We were down to 10 men with 30 minutes to go and we limited them to half chances.

‘That’s positive and we take a lot of that with us into the Wycombe game.

‘They poured bodies forward and our centre-halves headed everything away.

‘It’s what we’re there for at the end of the day.

‘We’re a back four and we should be keeping more clean sheets.’