Pompey Academy successes

Gary O'Neil

Gary O'Neil

David Forde. Picture: Joe Pepler

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In today’s News, FA chairman Greg Dyke spoke of the importance of acadamies like Pompey’s in the modern football world.

He believes youngsters have a better chance of playing first-team football with sides at a lower level as opposed to their Premier League counterparts.

Kit Symons

Kit Symons

And feels this will aid their development as they progress in their careers.

Pompey have a good history of developing players who have gone on to make it in the game.

Here’s six of our favourites but feel free to add to our list by posting a comment.

Gary O’Neil

Matt Ritchie

Matt Ritchie

Manager Tony Pulis gave trainee Gary O’Neil his Pompey debut as a 16­-year­-old in January 2000 against Barnsley.

In the final game of that season, needing a win to avoid relegation to the second division, O’Neil scored his first goal for the club and helped them to a 3­-0 victory against the Tykes.

From 2001, the midfielder became a key member of the Blues team and helped the side achieve promotion to the Premier League in the 2002-­03 season.

He helped Pompey stay in the division until he left in 2007, having scored 17 goals in 192 appearances and winning the player of the season award in 2006.

Darren Anderton

Darren Anderton

O’Neil has earned caps for England at under-19, under-20 and under-21 level, captaining the latter.

Since leaving Pompey, the midfielder has been a main­stay in the top two divisions, playing at Middlesborough, West Ham, QPR and Norwich, where he currently plays.

Joel Ward

Joel Ward signed a professional contract with Pompey in July 2008, having come through the academy.

Following a successful loan spell at Bournemouth, the defender spent the next three years with the Blues, amassing six goals in 96 appearances.

In May 2012, he made a £400,000 move to Crystal Palace and in his first season helped the Eagles secure promotion to the Premier League ­via the Championship play­offs.

Since then, Ward, who plays at right-­back, has been a regular starter for the Eagles and has contributed to the club consolidating its position in the top tier.

Matt Ritchie

Gosport’s Matt Ritchie was involved with the Pompey Academy from the age of 13 and signed his first professional contract with the club in 2008.

The ­midfielder made his Blues debut at the tail end of the 2009-­10 Premier League season, but could not prevent the side being relegated to the Championship.

Ritchie struggled to break into the first team in the following season and was subsequently sent out on a succession of loan spells at Swindon.

In January 2011, Ritchie signed a two-and-a-half-year deal with the Robins, where he amassed 23 goals in 91 appearances.

Two years later, Ritchie signed for Bournemouth for £400,000 and has helped the Cherries go from League One to the Premier League.

His form has also seen him capped seven times for Scotland, scoring twice.

Darren Anderton

Darren Anderton signed as a Pompey apprentice in 1990 and in the following two seasons he scored seven goals in 62 appearances for the then Championship side – including one against Liverpool in the 1992 FA Cup semi-final.

That summer he signed for Spurs for £1.75m.

He stayed a White Hart Lane for 12 years, scoring 34 goals in 299 appearances, and winning the League Cup in 1999.

Anderton made his name at Tottenham, who he joined in 1992 and played across the midfield and

During his Spurs years, Anderton also became an England regular and played an important part in the Euro 96 team that reached the last four.

In the semi-final against Wembley Germany, the match went to golden goal extra-time.

Anderton came within inches of putting England into the final when his shot hit the post.

He finished his career with spells at Birmingham, Wolves and Bournemouth, before retiring in 2008.

Kit Symons

Basingstoke’s Kit Symons made 160 appearances for the Blues over a seven-­year period, after coming through the academy, and became a fans’ favourite at Fratton Park.

He made his debut in a Simod Cup game in November 1988 aged just 17 and from that moment on Pompey fans watched as he worked his way through the ranks.

Symons was part of Jim Smith’s side which were seconds away from reaching the 1992 FA Cup final as Pompey nearly beat Liverpool.

He was also an integral part of the Pompey team that missed out on promotion to the top flight by goal difference the following season.

In 1992, Symons made his international debut for Wales against the Republic of Ireland and he went on to win 36 caps.

In 1995, he departed Pompey for Manchester City in a deal that included Carl Griffiths and Fitzroy Simpson.

After departing from Pompey, the central defender had three­-year spells at both Manchester City.

The defender made 124 appearances for City over three years, before moving to Fulham (1998) and then Crystal Palace (2001).

Since retiring, Symons has since gone into coaching.

He was part of the youth set-up at Fulham, before taking charge of the Londoners’ first team in a caretaker capacity in 2014.

A full-time role followed, before his sacking in November.

Jed Wallace

Jed Wallace made his senior debut in a 3–0 League Cup defeat against Plymouth Argyle on August 14, 2012.

The attacking midfielder then made his league debut on January 13, 2013, and soon scored his first of 30 goals for the club against Hartlepool on January 26.

He then received a call­-up to the England under-19 set-­up.

He ended the 2014–15 season as Pompey’s top scorer, with 17 goals, and also won the club’s player of the season award.

After 121 appearances for the Blues, Wallace signed a three­-year deal with Championship side Wolves in May 2015.

However, he has so far failed to make an impact, only making a handful of appearances, and has recently been loaned out to League One outfit Millwall.

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