Portsmouth manager John Mousinho responds to fans as he explains his motive for a decision fans tagged “Risky” after his securing a remarkable 3-2 victory…

Terry Devlin, a 19-year-old who had not been part of Pompey’s squad for the recent goalless draw against Cambridge United and had never started a Football League match, was selected by the head coach to be in the starting lineup against Reading on Saturday. To everyone’s surprise, the former Glentoran player went on to score the winning goal, securing a remarkable 3-2 victory for Portsmouth, who had been trailing 2-0.

Mousinho had no doubts about giving the Northern Ireland Under-21 international his full debut at the Madejski Stadium. He explained, “One of the things I was frustrated about on Tuesday night was I didn’t think we stretched the game well enough, and one of Terry’s best qualities is his ability to stretch the game and make runs in behind. A few times in the first half, he executed that role brilliantly. He gets into the box, as we saw with the goal, he’s assertive, and he excels in everything he does.”

Mousinho emphasized that selecting Devlin was not a risky move, citing the player’s consistent effort and dedication in training and his previous appearances in cup games. He also mentioned Devlin’s ability to contribute in challenging moments. Mousinho stated, “We trust Terry, even at 19. He’s extremely disciplined and hardworking, with a promising career ahead. He has a tremendous passion for the game, and it must have been frustrating for him to sit on the sidelines for 14 league games without starting. But he has now, and he delivered a fantastic finish.”

Devlin had previously featured in five league games for Portsmouth but had to patiently wait for his first start. Playing as an advanced central midfielder in place of Christian Saydee, Mousinho believed the selection was justified. He explained, “Terry has performed exceptionally well, so when he wasn’t in the squad, like on Tuesday night, I couldn’t justify it other than feeling that certain players were more suitable for the Cambridge game. We are instilling in the players that they need to be ready to start games, and I believed it was the perfect match for Terry.”

Mousinho also acknowledged that despite being 2-0 down early in the game, he and his coaching staff stuck with their selection, confident that the team would perform effectively if they found their rhythm.

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