Cook’s ‘no-brainer’ of a Pompey deal for defender

Former Pompey defender Adam Webster in pre-season training last summer Picture: Joe Pepler
Former Pompey defender Adam Webster in pre-season training last summer Picture: Joe Pepler
Mark Catlin, left, and Michael Eisner with the Pompey crest revamp designs. Picture: Portsmouth FC

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For the first time in five pre-seasons, Pompey will not have Adam Webster’s presence for the kick-off.

Yet Paul Cook insists it was a ‘no-brainer’ to trade the defender in for Matt Clarke with Ipswich.

The funds will go into recruiting players and if we can be successful this season and get promotion then Adam will be part of what has earnt us that

Paul Cook

The Blues’ summer schedule this morning begins at their Copnor Road training ground.

Clarke is among six new permanent additions to Cook’s squad for another attempt at securing promotion from League Two.

A notable absentee is Webster, however, whose maiden first-team pre-season was under Michael Appleton in 2012 on his way to 81 appearances.

Earlier this month, Pompey opted to cash-in on the home-grown youngster to the tune of £700,000 in addition to former loanee Clarke.

And Cook is convinced it is a deal which can help the club’s ambitions flourish.

He said: ‘For me it was a no-brainer.

‘That was a great deal which allows us to go into the market more aggressively with money to bring players in to strengthen our squad.

‘Everyone wishes Adam well. It’s funny, our fans sing about Conor Chaplin being one of our own – well Adam Webster was certainly one of our own and is a credit to the Academy, first-team and everyone connected with the club.

‘It was totally my decision and this is the good thing about this club.

‘The funds will go into recruiting players and if we can be successful this season and get promotion then Adam will be part of what has earnt us that.

‘For me, as a manager, to come into the club and have players of Adam’s professionalism towards the game is a credit to himself and his family.

‘It is everything how a footballer should conduct themselves.

‘What a good lad, no matter whether he started or not he carried himself superbly. People forget he didn’t start the first 12 league games of last season because of the Clarke and Burgess partnership.

‘Adam is an absolute pleasure of a lad, a great lad, and we all wish him well.’

Clarke made 33 appearances last term, with injury depriving the Blues of his talents for the final five matches.

The 19-year-old impressed the Fratton faithful with his powerful displays at the heart of the defence, chiefly alongside Christian Burgess.

And his capture has understandably been well-received by supporters.

Cook added: ‘I speak about Adam exactly how I speak about Matt Clarke. They are the same lad in different bodies.

‘Both are credits to themselves, how they conduct themselves and for a lot of young lads in the game today who go off the rails and don’t do things right, these boys will be totally the opposite.

‘I felt Clarke coming in and £700,000 to the club was a great deal for us, he is going to be a fantastically-good footballer.

‘The big thing for me was the left foot, left-sided central defenders don’t exist,

‘Certainly we feel for Adam’s potential to move and Matt’s potential to develop, plus Jack Whatmough’s reemergence as a centre half, Christian Burgess being there and Adam Barton looking like he has played centre half all his life, we have good options.’