Coach Ertl hails Academy talent pool

Conor Chaplin made his full debut against York last season Picture: Barry Zee
Conor Chaplin made his full debut against York last season Picture: Barry Zee

JOHNNY ERTL is convinced other young Academy talents are on the conveyor belt to follow Conor Chaplin’s first-team lead.

The former Blues midfielder is currently involved in coaching the under-15s as part of his Uefa B licence.

This is my first step into coaching and I really enjoy it because they are good, talented boys and the Academy are working brilliantly and doing a great job

Johnny Ertl

Ertl, who on Monday was voted onto the board of the Pompey Supporters’ Trust, will spend the season working with the youngsters.

The 32-year-old knows all about the emergence of Chaplin, after they played in the same team together in the final match of last season against York.

And from what he has seen in the Academy, there are other promising players pushing their way through the system.

Ertl said: ‘There are very good players in the under-15s and we can be proud of our Academy.

‘Youngsters get a fantastic education here. In our catchment area we have Southampton and have other clubs with better facilities, but the Academy education at our club is second-to-none.

‘All the boys who come through the system are really grounded and hard-working and it is great to see them out there playing.

‘It shows they are doing a great job in the Academy and sometimes people don’t see that because they are not in the spotlight.

‘This is my first step into coaching and I really enjoy it because they are good, talented boys and the Academy are working brilliantly and doing a great job.

‘Mark Kelly and the rest of the team really care for the club and others will also come through the system.’

Chaplin made his debut as a substitute against Accrington Stanley in December 2014.

Since then he has netted five times in 17 first-team appearances – most recently scoring twice against Barnet last weekend.

Ertl was part of the starting line-up when the youngster from Worthing made his full debut in a 1-1 draw with York last season.

And he remains impressed by the forward’s blossoming talent.

He added: ‘Conor is only 18 and it is great to see him feature for the first team and scoring goals.

‘As a fan you want to see him and other home-grown players like Ben Close, who grew up round the corner, doing well.

‘I was so happy for Conor to see him do well against Barnet, I really like him. He is a good, hard-working player who can score goals and I am sure will keep doing well.’