Appleton vision for Pompey’s future

Adam Webster is just the kind of young, hungry talent Michael Appleton is keen to harness in his Pompey vision. Picture: Barry Zee
Adam Webster is just the kind of young, hungry talent Michael Appleton is keen to harness in his Pompey vision. Picture: Barry Zee

Michael Appleton has laid down his youthful blueprint for Pompey and promised: This is the future.

The Blues boss has vowed to continue with his overhaul of the squad – focusing on young energy and hunger – regardless of what division his men are in next season.

The 36-year-old has made it clear he sees his role continuing with the club he arrived at in November, despite their incessant problems.

He insisted the way forward for them is with a heavy accent on youth.

The ex-West Brom assistant manager has already brought players such as Karim Rekik, 17, George Thorne, 19, Luca Scapuzzi, Scott Allan, both 20, Kelvin Etuhu and Chris Maguire, both 23, to the club.

That’s on top of using homegrown teenage talents Ashley Harris, 18, Adam Webster, 17, and giving Marko Futacs, 22, an extended run of games.

He called on Pompey fans to show patience with the policy, which he believes can reward the club for years to come.

Appleton said: ‘They are young lads and this is a young team.

‘If Portsmouth Football Club is to get anywhere near where it has been in the past six or seven years they are going to have to be patient and stick with young players.

‘They are the ones who are going to take them back up again.

‘My point is this is the way we now have to look as a club.

‘We have learned our lessons – big time – and I think it is going to cost us big time, whatever happens to our league status.

‘It’s the way Portsmouth has to go.

‘We have to build for the future now, whether we are in the Championship or not.

‘This is still the route we have to go down. We have to look to the future.

‘Hopefully, I’ll be backed to be able to do that.

‘That’s the vision. I’ve said it from day one.

‘When I arrived I looked at the squad and it had 18 names in it – 10 of them were 30-plus.

‘There were not enough players and the balance was all wrong.

‘If I’m given the tools to do it – and a level playing field to work on – that is what we are going to see from Portsmouth for the next two or three years and beyond.’

Appleton believes he is starting to see the kind of character he is looking for from his squad after recruiting a string of youngsters amid Pompey’s financial woes.

He pinpointed fire and desire as the traits he wants to see from his men.

The Blues boss said: ‘What you might be starting to notice is we have got some young players and they have got some personalities.

‘They get angry with each other as well.

‘They will dig each other out if they are not doing the business.

‘These lads are 19, 20 or 21 and digging each other out and they are digging some of the senior pros out as well.

‘That is the type of character we want at the club.

‘I want to walk into that canteen at the training ground and look over my shoulder at a squad full of hungry, angry, aggressive and young footballers who are desperate to be successful.’