Pompey v Stevenage: Adam Webster grows into his central role

Adam Webster makes his debut in 2012. Picture: Barry Zee
Adam Webster makes his debut in 2012. Picture: Barry Zee

Asked to do a job in a variety of positions, Adam Webster didn’t complain.

He was just happy to get his first-team opportunity, whether it was right-back, left-back or occasionally in his favoured role in the middle.

Handed a debut by Michael Appleton at the tender age of just 17 in a 1-0 home defeat by West Ham in January 2012, he made three substitute appearances that season.

The following campaign it was 13 starts and eight substitute appearances.

But in 2013/14, it was just four games, although he did score his first two goals for the club.

Last season saw his development continue as he was sent out on loan to Aldershot but then – crucially – he came into the first team towards the end of the campaign under Gary Waddock.

At the time, his Pompey career looked like it was at a crossroads.

But perhaps most importantly, he got his chance at centre-back.

While some Blues fans may have written him off, a few will definitely have had their eyes opened at seeing him play in his rightful position.

And Webster believes much of his improvement is down to that.

He said: ‘I feel like I have really improved in the past six or eight months.

‘But I think a lot of that is down to playing in my natural position.

‘In the past couple of years, I have played left-back and right-back, which is fine.

‘I’ve always thought I could do a job there, but naturally, I am a centre-back.

‘I feel it’s a position where I will show my best.

‘You get some players who can play in a number of positions and it’s always good to be versatile.

‘But sometimes, they haven’t really nailed down one position.

‘Hopefully, I can do that now.

‘When I first made my debut three-and-a-half years ago, physically I wasn’t ready to play centre-back.

‘But these days, I think I can deal with it a lot better. You come up against big, powerful strikers pretty much every week in League Two so you need to be able to cope with that.’

He was clearly close to the first team before he got the nod for his first league start of the campaign in the win at Newport County and the 20-year-old insisted he was not looking for another loan spell away from the club.

Boss Paul Cook made it clear he was a big part of the plans and is expected to keep faith with him tonight at home to Stevenage.

Webster said: ‘I went out on loan to Aldershot last season and that really helped me develop.

‘I played 25 games at centre-back and I always knew I would play there.

‘But I wasn’t thinking about going out on loan this season.

I set my sights on playing for Portsmouth.

‘I had the cup games and a couple of reserve games so I’ve been keeping fit.

‘And I knew I was close to the first team so I didn’t really want to go out on loan.

‘We’ve got a great squad and there is good competition for places, which is healthy for the team.

‘But we all want to play.’