Surprising Selection and 19-year-old Spectacular Debut Earns Portsmouth a Thrilling outcome…

Portsmouth’s triumphant manager, John Mousinho, is resolute in his belief that the surprising decision to include former Glentoran player Terry Devlin in the starting lineup posed no risk.

Terry Devlin, a 19-year-old who had never started a Football League match and wasn’t part of Pompey’s squad for the midweek goalless draw against Cambridge United, was unexpectedly placed in the starting XI for the match against Reading on Saturday. To everyone’s surprise, Devlin went on to score the winning goal in the second half, contributing to a remarkable 3-2 victory for Portsmouth, who had been trailing 2-0.

Mousinho had no reservations about giving the Northern Ireland Under-21 international his full debut at the Madejski Stadium. He explained that one of his frustrations from the previous game was the team’s inability to stretch the game effectively, a skill at which Terry excels. Devlin’s ability to run in behind the opposition’s defense and make runs into the box was evident during the match, particularly in his goal-scoring moment. Mousinho emphasized that the decision to start Devlin was not a risk because of the hard work and dedication he consistently demonstrates in training.

Mousinho highlighted Devlin’s previous appearances in cup games and his debut against Derby as indicators of the trust the coaching staff had in him. He also mentioned Devlin’s performance when coming on as a substitute in challenging situations in previous matches. Mousinho expressed his confidence in Terry’s discipline, work ethic, and promising future in the game, despite his young age.

Mousinho acknowledged that it must have been frustrating for Devlin to be on the sidelines for 14 league games without a start but commended his brilliant finish in the Reading match.

Devlin, who had previously featured in five league games for Portsmouth, had to wait patiently for his first start. However, his performance as an advanced central midfielder in place of Christian Saydee fully justified Mousinho’s selection decision.

In retrospect, Mousinho believed that the match against Cambridge was suited to certain players, explaining why Devlin wasn’t in the squad. He emphasized the importance of players being prepared to start games and felt that Terry’s inclusion in the lineup against Reading was the perfect match for him.

Despite initial doubts during the match, Mousinho and Jon Harley stuck with their selection, believing it was the right choice. They trusted that the team would come together and perform well if they found their rhythm, ultimately leading to a successful outcome.

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