Hibernian’s academy has been a constantly good produce of young Scottish talent. They had a “golden generation” during the mid 2000s, bringing through such young players as Scott Brown, Kevin Thomson, and Garry O’Connor. Since then, the academy has dried up a little, with no prominent stars coming through. However, Hibs seems to have produced another star in very recent times in Ryan Porteous.
Ryan Porteous is a 23-year-old central defender from Scotland, with over 120 top flight appearances to his name already for Hibernian. He’s a newly made Scotland international (in which he kept a clean sheet in a 0-0 draw with Ukraine to finish first place in Scotland’s Nations League group), and with the way he is going, he will certainly get a lot more caps under his belt.
The best way to describe Porteous is an old school centre half but with fantastic passing range. He’s very aggressive in tackles, maybe sometimes overly aggressive which he needs to needle out his game but in recent times, he’s been able to really control his tackles. Last season recording two red cards, while so far this season receiving none. His defensive capabilities are fantastic, he seems to always be in the right place at the right time to intercept a pass, he’s a very strong player too, like a rock at the back. Standing at 1.88m, he is really imposing in the air, constantly winning headers. Porteous isn’t slow either, although not the fastest also, but uses his body well to win the ball in dangerous situations. A very brave player also, he likes to fling himself in front of challenges and is a real leader on the pitch, always backing up his teammates and communicating well.
Normally with defenders, they’re either excel at defending or possession play, however Porteous really excels in both. His range of passing is fantastic, and he always thinks of positive forward play, as shown by the fact that outside of Celtic in the cinch Premiership, he has the most Forward passes per 90 in the competition for a central defender with minimum of 600 minutes with 25.35 Forward passes per 90. Also, he is very successful with these passes with 74.22% being successful. He has recorded 13.65 Passes to final third per 90 also which is the highest for any cinch Premiership central defender with minimum of 600 minutes. This really shows that he is a progressive passing central defender who is always looking for a way to bring his team forward in play. Recently, Hibernian have played Porteous as a central midfielder at times, being able to use his ball winning and ball playing skills to help in the central areas of the pitch and then push his team forward, although I still see his future being in the central defence area.
In this January transfer window, it’s no surprise teams such as Udinese, Bologna, Oostende, Toulouse, and Blackburn are taking a good look at him with his contract up at the end of the season. I, personally, feel like his real tough centre back profile would really suit a team in the Serie A, in the mould of a Chiellini or Bonucci and with the success of other Scots in Italy such as Aaron Hickey, Lewis Ferguson and Josh Doig, I don’t feel like he would be completely out of place. It will certainly be interesting to see where his career goes.