Meet Ronan Curtis - the Irish international with Yakubu in his sights.
As part of a new daily series, The Irish Post will be profiling a different Irish footballer every weekday, and we are kicking it off with Portsmouth's talisman Ronan Curtis.
Curtis first represented Ireland at under-21 level, and did so very impressively (receiving player of the year in 2018), before making his senior debut in November 2018 in a 0–0 draw against Northern Ireland.
Despite his British birthplace, he was raised in Donegal having moved there at just eight years old. As a result, he refers to Ireland as "his country", and said that there was never any doubt about who he might play for.
Speaking to Pundit Arena back in 2019 he said: "100% it was always Ireland. When I was at school, even before I played for Ireland because I only played for my country at U21 level, but when I was at school Northern Ireland wanted me to play for them, I went to school in Derry. I said ‘no, that’s not my roots, that’s not who I want to play for I want to play for my country,’ which was Ireland."
At just 19, Curtis' professional football journey began at Derry City. The London-born footballer was highly rated as a youth, and impressed during his time with the Candystripes.
He played 100 times for the League of Ireland club, and got himself 24 goals in the process, which naturally caught the attention of some sides across the water.
Portsmouth came in for him in May of 2018, and signed him for a fee believed to be approximately £100,000. Since then, he has delivered on a consistent basis for the club, and is now one of their most valuable assets.
Simply put, he is beloved at Portsmouth, and for good reason too.
— Emirates FA Cup (@EmiratesFACup) November 4, 2020
With regards to playing style, Curtis' abilities could be described as both classy and intense. He brings the elegance of a Berbatov-style forward without sacrificing the hard work or neglecting the physical aspect of the game.
This led to him having an excellent 2019/2020 season, bagging himself 11 league goals in 33 appearances.
Recently, he netted his 13th of this season in the Blues’ important 1-0 triumph over Bristol Rovers, which has him on his way to breaking a fairly special record.
It takes his goal tally to 39 goals in 139 appearances since arriving from Derry in 2018.
Only former fan favourites at Fratton Park Yakubu (43) and Brett Pitman (42) have netted more times for Pompey in the 21st Century, which shows just where Curtis is at.
While the quantity of his goals is quite impressive, his CV is filled with a ridiculous range of finishes too, from long-range screamers to pieces of individual brilliance.
— Kenny's Kids (@KennysKids) November 22, 2020
As it stands, Portsmouth are in and around the playoff spots in League One, but we would be extremely surprised if Curtis isn't playing in the Championship next season either way.
Make sure to check back tomorrow for a new player profile!