Week to remember as fit-again Jack stakes England claim

Jack Whatmough. Picture: Joe Pepler

Jack Whatmough. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Jack Whatmough is in line for his England debut to cap a memorable week.

The 17-year-old returned to Pompey training on Thursday having spent a period of time sidelined with pain in both knees.

He then featured for Andy Awford’s Academy side on Saturday as they booked their place in the Alliance Youth League Cup final.

Although Whatmough missed one of his penalties in the 4-3 shoot-out success over Cheltenham, the hosts still managed to go through.

Then it was off to link-up with England ahead of Wednesday’s under-18 international friendly.

They face Croatia (2pm) in a friendly at St George’s Park in Burton, with Whatmough having impressed during a Three Lions training camp in January.

Should he play, Whatmough will follow local lads Sam Magri and Adam Webster in representing England in recent years.

Jed Wallace has also made the international breakthrough.

And Richie Barker is delighted with the Gosport youngster’s continued progress, particularly having suffered a frustrating injury of late.

He said: ‘I have been impressed with Jack and it’s a shame he had been injured recently because he had been training with us on a daily basis.

‘But again down to the weather we have had to train on 3G and probably with the rate he was growing it wasn’t the best thing for him but there was no alternative.

‘He had to train and ended up being sore in both knees, which does show it is surface related.

‘If there is one knee you can start exploring balances along the legs but both is probably due to surface issues.

‘He’s had a couple of set-backs, he’s had a couple of fitness tests that haven’t quite gone right and there is tendonitis in his knee.

‘But he has come through that now and hopefully he can start playing regularly again, particularly for England and their match this week.’

Whatmough has made four appearances for the Blues this season since signing professional forms in August.

Caretaker boss, Awford gave him his debut against Southend in November, deploying the youngster in the centre of defence.

Whatmough’s most recent appearance was on New Year’s Day during a last-gasp 2-1 defeat at Southend.

On that occasion the teenager started in midfield before the injuries stalled his Pompey progress.