Pompey defender revelling in express train to the top

Jason Pearce playing in League Two for Bournemouth in 2009
Jason Pearce playing in League Two for Bournemouth in 2009
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler

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It’s a journey which began in League Two, travelled into League One and then arrived in the Championship.

All within 15 months.

For Jason Pearce, it has been a whistle-stop tour through the divisions of English football.

The defender has effortlessly adjusted to the challenges thrown up by each stop.

What’s more, the 23-year-old is rapidly establishing himself as one of Pompey’s players of the season during his current Championship stint.

Pearce has packed plenty of experience into his young career since initially leaving Fratton Park in the summer of 2007.

His current Pompey campaign represents a progression which has seen three league elevations in three successive years.

Pearce helped Bournemouth secure promotion from League Two in 2009-10, while they narrowly missed out from going up again last season.

His impressive displays for the Cherries ensured Pearce was to make the move to the Championship, though, when Steve Cotterill came calling.

And the gutsy defender’s reputation continues to be enhanced.

Initially earmarked as a squad player during his maiden Blues season, the £300,000 summer signing has gone on to establish himself as a regular at the heart of the defence, alongside Greg Halford.

Pearce has certainly not looked out of place as he continues to relish his rapid ascent through the leagues.

He said: ‘Obviously, the Championship is a much tougher league and I know I need to step up my game to do well at this level.

‘But I feel as though I have coped okay so far.

‘The games are a bit quicker and the players are better at a higher level. So you have to be really on your game and focused.

‘I would actually say League One and League Two are of a similar standard.

‘At Bournemouth, we got promoted and the following year had a great season in League One and nearly went up.

‘However, in football nowadays, the quality players are dropping down the leagues.

‘That is because of the influx of foreign players in the Premier League. Lads coming through the academies are having to drop right down to play their football.

‘The result is that there are some quality players in the Championship, League One and League Two.

‘Take Claude Davis, who is coming towards the end of his career.

‘He is currently playing for Crawley in League Two. A couple of years ago he was in the Premier League.

‘Even players like him are dropping down to League One or League Two because it is still a very good level to play at.

‘Nobby Solano is at Hartlepool at the moment. He’s another.

‘Every level you go up is obviously going to be a different level with quicker, better players and that is why I have come here.

‘I want to play games like West Ham, Hull and prove myself at that level. And I’m enjoying it.’

Pearce made 183 appearances for Bournemouth before leaving this summer.

They were spread between League One and League Two, reflecting the recently up-and-down fortunes of the Dean Court club. After initially sitting out Pompey’s first-three matches through a three-game ban, Pearce has since been a regular.

He has started the Blues’ past eight matches, impressing in the process, and has been one of the bright spots in an otherwise disappointing start to the campaign.

The former Fratton youth-teamer is loving his new surroundings.

Pearce added: ‘Personally, I want to keep progressing so I can play as high as I can.

‘You are playing against Carlton Cole, Kenny Miller, Robert Earnshaw.

‘To be fair, every game I go into I know it is going to be a real tough match for me.

‘A lot of the strikers in this division have either played at the highest level or scored goals and are really good Championship goalscorers. I know I have to be on my game every game – but I am enjoying it.’