To get a real insight on our new signing Jason Pearce I wanted to get the viewpoint of someone who's seen him in action on a regular basis. Who better to ask than a Pompey fan.
I basically asked for a summary, his talents and weaknesses and any other information. When the contents of the email say I couldn't think of many bad things to say...we're generally onto a winner.
In fact I'm struggling to find a bad comment about Pearce, that's generally a very good sign. We can't get too carried away of course we've had some howlers. We have had players who can play for anyone, just not us.
With Pearce it seems a little different. He's a crowd pleaser and by the looks of things a born winner and leader.
Enough of my thoughts and back to the thoughts of Portsmouth fan Benedict West.
If Leeds have paid half a million for Jason Pearce then they got a bargain. His attitude and reliability are what make him worth that price: Portsmouth’s season has been an utter disaster, but he’s been one of the few positives over the year. Despite the fact he was only made captain in March once Liam Lawrence had been sent on loan to reduce the wage bill, he’s led by example ever since he’s arrived: vocal and commanding on the field among a fluctuating team.
Pearce started out at Portsmouth as a youth player in 2004, but never made a first team appearance and was inevitably sold to Bournemouth in 2007 where he found his feet. He flourished in the centre of defence and moved back to Pompey at the start of the 2011 season for about £300,000. After settling into the first team, he iterated his desire to stay when Ipswich Town bid for him in January, forming a core of players who were determined to turn the club around. He finished this season with 2 goals in 44 appearances, and picked up 7 of the 9 fans’ player of the season awards handed out.
He is consistent: in a depleted squad he was at the heart of defence the whole time, forming a great partnership with the more free-ranging Ricardo Rocha. Whilst he was suspended when he first arrived at Portsmouth, he has played every minute of every game after then, as he rarely gets booked and hasn’t got injured. He’s a dependable player around whom the team can be built.
His attitude is impeccable: it’s clear how deeply he cares about the club and understands the connection to the fans, frequently rallying the other players after conceding or when they flagged late on. He organises the defence brilliantly and tends to be one of the most composed and calm there, making sure of positions at free kicks and corners.
He has proven himself in the Championship and is too good for League One - it’s a shame that he wasn’t able to play in a better team so we could really see what he is capable of.
He isn’t a goal-scoring defender: he is only 6 foot and isn’t going to come up and win much in the opposition penalty area. His speed isn’t fantastic, but he was usually able to rely on one of the wide defenders to cover for him if he was caught out. Given that his best performances have come in ‘back against the wall’ scenarios, it’s not clear how well he’ll actually do in a healthy squad with more competition. Maybe his pointing and shouting would get on some of the Leeds players’ nerves!
I hope he continues to develop and has a better season than the one just gone - he’s been my favourite player in a long time.