Barker sees Pompey future for promising youngster

Adam Webster during Pompey training. Picture: Sarah Standing (131975-2018)
Adam Webster during Pompey training. Picture: Sarah Standing (131975-2018)
Pompey's Brett Pitman scores a penalty in the Blues' 1-1 draw against Walsall at Fratton Park. Picture: Joe Pepler/Digital South.

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Richie Barker has reassured Adam Webster he is part of Pompey’s plans beyond this season.

And the Blues are ready to offer the 19-year-old a new deal to keep him at Fratton Park for the long term.

Webster last week returned to Aldershot on loan for the remainder of the campaign in a bid for regular first-team football.

His time with the Shots during the first half of the season proved profitable, with the defender earning rave reviews for his 21 appearances.

Barker is hoping the home-grown talent will continue to flourish in the Skrill Premier as his encouraging development continues.

In the meantime, he has pencilled Webster in for his own squad for next season.

He said: ‘Adam is a big part of what we want to do next year and I didn’t want him missing out on football.

‘I felt for the time being the back four was looking fairly organised, so I wanted him to go out and play regularly, make his mistakes, get used to playing against bigger, stronger people and then come back next year a better player.

‘Ben Chorley has obviously come in as I thought we needed a bit more leadership but in terms of us moving forward Webbo is massive to what we want to do next year.

‘We will be offering him a new contract. I am sure we will be sitting down with him in the next few weeks to iron out a new one.

‘I saw him earlier in the season when he was at Aldershot and have seen him for a couple of weeks when he was with us and I know for us to be successful next year we need him to be part of it.

‘He doesn’t play for England a year above himself by not being able to do the right things but I think he still needs some help.

‘I’ve spoken to the England set-up about him so we both know where we are with that.

‘I want to help him continue with his England career and also hopefully help him with his career here as well.’

Webster’s existing Pompey deal ends this summer, although there is an option to extend it.

Barker has every intention of tying the defender to the Blues longer and it is a situation which will be explored.

In the meantime, he hopes to see the England under-19 international maintain his progress with Aldershot.

He added: ‘Once Webbo gets his feet back under the table at Aldershot he will be fine and playing games again – and we will monitor him.

‘I have had a conversation with Aldershot and we are going to manage it a little bit different, with him training more with us.

‘His strength and conditioning programme is also going to be based with us and we are going to try to watch him in more matches so when he comes back in the summer he is in a real competition for places.

‘He is one of those useful people who could easily play full-back as well.’