Enda Stevens tasked with international challenge

Enda Stevens in action at Doncaster. Picture: Steve Uttley
Enda Stevens in action at Doncaster. Picture: Steve Uttley
  • Pompey left-back has three Republic of Ireland under-21 caps
  • Sprang to prominence as left-back for Shamrock Rovers.
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Enda Stevens has been challenged to use his Pompey switch to kick-start his international aspirations.

The left-back this week arrived at Fratton Park eager for regular first-team football.

The manager will get the best out of him. He is one of those lads who is at a point in his career now he realises he can achieve whatever he wants

Leam Richardson

Capped three times by the Republic of Ireland under-21s, Stevens had found himself a free agent after his release by Aston Villa.

The 24-year-old’s path originally crossed with Paul Cook when both were based in the League of Ireland’s premier division.

Now Stevens finds himself under the tutelage of the ex-Sligo Rovers boss.

And assistant manager Leam Richardson revealed the defender has been told he can once again break into the international set-up.

Richardson said: ‘Enda brings great balance to the team. He’s a good left-back with bags of ability.

‘We think he can really kick on and achieve good things in his career.

‘The manager will get the best out of him. He is one of those lads who is at a point in his career now and he realises he can achieve whatever he wants.

‘The manager has spoken to him about playing for Ireland – and I don’t think it is unachievable for somebody like Enda.

‘He has the tools to do that if he gets his head down.

‘Firstly – let me make it clear – he must play regularly for a successful Portsmouth Football Club and then the rest will follow.

‘And I think he has got that in him.

‘He was very good at Doncaster last season, while was also on loan there the previous year when they were in the Championship.

‘Now I think he has realised he needs to settle down somewhere, get a regular shirt and kick on his career.’

After arriving at Villa in the summer of 2012, Stevens went on to make nine appearances.

Seven of those arrived in the Premier League, but he slipped out of favour and made his last appearance in January 2013.

Since then there have been loan spells at Doncaster (twice), Notts County and Northampton.

Now Stevens has arrived at Pompey, strengthening a squad which lost Dan Butler and Nicky Shorey as left-backs at the season’s end.

Cook is still on the look-out for a right-back – one of several areas of his team which requires bolstering.

Meanwhile, the Blues’ new left-back will be asked to fit into a 4-2-3-1 system and different style of play.

Richardson added: ‘Enda will be asked to attack.

‘Myself and the manager like our full-backs to be expansive, to have lots of energy to get up and down the pitch.

‘He will have to be fit, he knows that. He knows he will have to come back in top form – and again he has the tools to do that.’