Cowley backs Azeez to learn from ‘tough start’
DANNY COWLEY said Miguel Azeez will learn from his near hour-long Pompey debut after admitting the life of a professional footballer is not always easy.
The on-loan Arsenal youngster was handed a
Blues debut in Saturday’s game against Cambridge United at Fratton Park.
The midfielder was brought into the fold as the Pompey head coach freshened up his team after two consecutive league defeats and three League One matches without a goal.
It was a decision, along with the recall handed to
Ellis Harrison, which went down well with the Fratton faithful, who have been eager to see the England under-20 international in action.
But it was a ploy that didn’t exactly go according to plan.
The Blues lost the game 2-1 – stretching their losing run to three outings in the division and four in all competitions.
Meanwhile, Azeez was one of two substitutions made by Cowley on 59 minutes – being replaced by Louis Thompson – as the hosts struggled to cancel out Joe Ironside’s 38th-mnute opener for League One newcomers Cambridge.
The 18-year-old was unable to find his passing range and was guilty of giving the ball away on occasions as Pompey toiled in their efforts to turn the screw on the visitors. In his post-match assessment of the game, Cowley admitted it was a tough start to Azeez’s Pompey career.
Yet he said the player would learn from the experience as he conceded that his team selection probably didn’t help.
Cowley said: ‘We played 4-3-3 today (Saturday) so we played with a (number) six and two (number) eights.
‘Miguel is such a young player who is finding his way in professional football.
‘It was a tough start but this is the life of a professional footballer – it’s not always easy.
‘But he’s a top player and he will learn a lot from today.
‘And like I said, for us, we didn’t get the team right – we accept that, have to take responsibility for that.’
It was Azeez’s first-ever appearance in the Football League.