Pearce ‘honoured’ by skipper’s job

Pompey defender Jason Pearce
Pompey defender Jason Pearce
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He’s following in some illustrious footsteps.

And Jason Pearce has spoken of his honour at becoming Pompey’s latest skipper.

David James, Sol Campbell, Arjan De Zeeuw, Teddy Sheringham and Paul Merson are just some of the stars who have worn the armband in recent years.

But after Liam Lawrence was ruled out with a calf problem for the trip to Barnsley, Pearce took on the extra responsibility – picking up where he left off against Ipswich when the former Stoke man was substituted – to lead the Blues for their first game back in administration.

For Pearce, it made little difference to his demeanour on the pitch as he gave everything in typically-committed style.

The summer arrival from Bournemouth revealed he was proud to be asked to lead the club he supported as a boy.

Pearce said: ‘I was delighted and honoured to captain such a massive club.

‘But it doesn’t change me being captain. I’m the same whether I wear the armband or not.

‘Having come through the ranks at Pompey as a youth player, it was something I always wanted to do.

‘I went off to Bournemouth and became captain there so I knew I had it in me.

‘The gaffer gave me the opportunity to take over at the moment so I’m grateful for that.

‘I’m assuming that when Liam comes back, he will take over again.

‘Nothing changes in my head or on the pitch – I just try to give 100-per-cent every time I play.

‘There is an extra bit of responsibility when you go out there and I’m delighted to get the armband – it was something I wanted.

‘But I need to keep my feet on the ground and keep working hard.’

Even though Pearce is one of the younger players in the Pompey side at 24, he is by no means a shrinking violet when it comes to letting more experienced team-mates know his views.

In fact, while Lawrence is an influential captain in his own right, Pearce could be the type of bullish, never-say-die character to epitomise the defiance required among the players and the fans to face the club’s current plight.

‘If I need to voice my opinion about things, I will do that anyway but all the players will do that, too,’ he said.

‘I will have my say and it’s about gaining respect from the boys.

‘Hopefully, I have done that and the lads respect me.’

Times may be tough at Fratton Park just lately but Pearce insists the team will continue to fight the battle and show the kind of spirit they did in defeat at Oakwell – despite being reduced to 10 men before half-time.

Pearce added: ‘All I can do is keep on performing as I am doing and try to gee the lads up.

‘We’ve all just got to keep going.

‘The fans have been magnificent, home and away, and we can only thank them for that.

‘We need to keep on going for them.

‘We showed a real fighting spirit, which I think all the fans who came up to Barnsley will appreciate.

‘We’ve just got to keep going and hopefully we can pull ourselves out of trouble.

‘I think we can take a lot from the game and we’ve got time to pull ourselves out of this.

‘We’ve got 15 cup finals ahead of us and we’ve got to start putting it right.’