Ertl: Scoring goals? Sorry not my job!

Johnny Ertl celebrates scoring his first Pompey goal. Picture: Joe Pepler
Johnny Ertl celebrates scoring his first Pompey goal. Picture: Joe Pepler

For Johnny Ertl, it is not listed in the job description, certainly not contained within his stated remit.

The Blues skipper just doesn’t do goals.

Saturday was an exception, left all alone at the far post to net from Jed Wallace’s excellent right-flank raid and subsequent delivery.

It was the first time he has hit the back of the net since February 2010 for Crystal Palace in an FA Cup tie against Aston Villa.

Even more astonishing, it was Ertl’s first league goal in English football having arrived on these shores from his native Austria in the summer of 2008.

Not that the 30-year-old is remotely concerned over his general lack of scoring.

As a naturally defensive midfielder, he recognises his skill set involves other duties, as does the instructions often asked of him by managers.

Still, he struck at Cheltenham for what appeared to be a likely match-winner, until the hosts grabbed a heart-breaking 92nd-minute leveller.

But just don’t expect Ertl to now go on a goal rush.

He said: ‘I have scored a few in pre-seasons over the years but my last goal was a header in the FA Cup against Aston Villa.

‘You can say it was overdue!

‘I scored a lot in Austria growing up, once I got four goals in a season when I was on loan at SC Kalsdorf.

‘The following season I moved from Sturm Graz to Austria Vienna and also scored four goals.

‘But every single player has his task and for me, sometimes, it is to be the solid rock in front of the back four.

‘I don’t score many because it’s a different task, I am just a holding midfielder, I have to protect the back four and to break up play.

‘On Saturday, Jed did great to be honest, he did so well, it was then easy for me just to tuck the ball in.

‘Scoring is a great feeling but what I did against Cheltenham was a lot of break-up play, to read the game well, to feed Barchy (Andy Barcham), Ricky Holmes and Jed, they can then press themselves with Agye (Patrick Agyemang) up front and I can just be solid in my position.

‘I also help the back four as well, this is my job to keep the team solid.

‘It is the beauty of football. When you have just attacking players you won’t win many games.

‘It’s a team, you need different characters and to put them in the right areas and right positions.

‘I think we have a really good side and the management team did very well to bring in all those players – but right now we need to step up to the next level to kill games off.’

A third successive 2-2 away league draw has left the Blues in 17th spot after six games.

Clearly, Pompey would be considerably higher had they not been so careless defensively, but Ertl remains optimistic.

He added: ‘You can see the way we played and fought against Chesterfield at home that there were good things. We have the team spirit here and I am really, really, really pleased.

‘We must work together as a team and the final thing will come.

‘Bournemouth won one of their first 13 games in League One last season.

‘We have a lot of new players coming in and now is the time to gel as a team.’