Pompey boss in no hurry to pinpoint East role

Danny East. Picture: Sarah Standing (131976-2500)
Danny East. Picture: Sarah Standing (131976-2500)

Guy Whittingham has admitted he has yet to pinpoint Danny East’s most effective playing position – and hopes he never does.

Pompey’s manager is keen not to be led into pigeon holing his versatile summer recruit.

East has started at both left-back and in the centre of midfield for the Blues so far this season.

In the last home match with Morecambe, he initially came on as a substitute in midfield before dropping to right-back in a tactical reshuffle.

With a relatively small squad, Whittingham believes the talents of such utility players are crucial.

And he would rather consider East for a variety of roles than focusing on one.

He said: ‘No I don’t know Danny’s best position and I hope I don’t ever.

‘I have told him it’s important, especially for clubs at our level, that you have players who can fit into different places when you haven’t got the biggest squad in the world.

‘We haven’t got two players for every place, so you have to make sure one or two players can play in different places – and I think he is really valuable for the team from that point of view.

‘Danny has got his opinion of where he is the best and we probably have an opinion where we think is the best. I don’t think it is the same!

‘He has played a lot of roles here already and is valuable to any team.

‘We are glad we’ve got him and know in time he will get plenty of games here.

‘Danny is an option for most places really, apart from goalkeeper or striker, and is vital to us.

‘I don’t know whether he has doubts on that or not but he shouldn’t have doubts because we value those types of players.’

East will be challenging for a left-back spot this weekend with Marcos Painter an injury concern.

Alternatively, Dan Butler could return to Whittingham’s side.

Regardless, it highlights the versatility of East, who has played the majority of his senior games at right-back.

Pompey are also keen to sign free agent Shaun Cooper, another who can operate in a string of different positions.

And the Blues boss believes every side needs players with such flexibility.

He added: ‘We probably don’t think there are many about.

‘But I would think every team has one or two players who can play a couple of positions.

‘I played right midfield and striker when I was at Sheffield Wednesday.

‘So you have to be able to play in a slightly different role.

‘If you talk about strikers, you might be the one who plays at the top or plays behind in the hole and then switch.

‘I think you are more valuable to a manager, certainly, if you are flexible in where you can play.’