Step back in time for Shorey after 14-year absence

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Back to where it all began for Nicky Shorey – after a 14-year sabbatical.

Pompey fans can be excused for the look of bewilderment which accompanied the unveiling of the Pompey new boy in the centre of midfield at Oxford on Saturday.

The 32-year-old represented England at left-back on two occasions after rising to prominence in the role at Reading.

Yet, as a youngster, Shorey was a highly-promising central midfielder on the books at Leyton Orient.

In February 2000, as a teenager, he even made his debut in the O’s engine room, before not long afterwards being converted to a left-sided defender.

Then on Saturday the Romford-born player was named by Richie Barker to partner midfielder Thery Racon in a 4-4-2 at the Kassam Stadium for his Blues bow.

The result was a goalless draw at the promotion-chasing U’s and an encouraging first glimpse for many of Shorey in his former job.

‘I grew up as a central midfielder, I have always enjoyed playing in there, so was a kid in a sweet shop,’ admitted Shorey.

‘Of course, I’ve also got the versatility that I can go left-back as well, so I am sure that is a good option for the manager.

‘I suppose people don’t realise I started off as a central midfielder at Leyton Orient, but was the only one with a left foot so got chucked to left-back one day and the rest is history.

‘This season I have played a few games in midfield for Bristol – that was on the left or sometimes on the left of a three in the middle – but being on the left is a bit tougher because you are out wide and it’s not really ideal for me.

‘But the gaffer (Richie) gave me the opportunity to play in the centre against Oxford and I would like to think it went okay. Hopefully I can get another opportunity, but whatever I need to do I will do.

‘It didn’t go too bad for me and is something I enjoy doing and I feel I can play as well in there as I can elsewhere.

‘If Sean O’Driscoll was at Bristol City I would probably still have been there now.

‘But the new manager, Steve Cotterill, came in, changed up and that’s life, you just get on with it.

‘He was really straight with me and honest and I respected him. I think they will do well under him, to be honest.

‘I love playing football and haven’t done it enough for my liking in the last few years, so I am glad to do it here.’

Shorey came close to joining Pompey on a season-long loan in September 2009 when Paul Hart was manager – even travelling down to Fratton Park for the deal to be completed.

The move subsequently fell through, with Hart claiming the left-back wanted assurances over a regular spot – and instead he remained at Aston Villa.

At last he is now a Blues player, although the ex-Reading player couldn’t remember the full circumstances of his failure to sign.

‘I nearly signed here before, it fell through at the end which was a bit of a shame,’ admitted Shorey.

‘It was just a culmination of things, that’s football. To be honest, I couldn’t tell you why it didn’t happen, but I’m glad to be here now.

‘I just like playing football and I will always want to play football for as long as I can so long may that continue.’