Summer will be no holiday for Pompey midfielder

Kelvin Etuhu will continue to train this summer. Picture: Robin Jones
Kelvin Etuhu will continue to train this summer. Picture: Robin Jones
Pompey midfielder Carl Baker Picture: Joe Pepler

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Most of his team-mates are thinking about lying on a beach – if they are not already.

But Kelvin Etuhu insists his season did not end at Nottingham Forest on Saturday.

There will not be a lavish holiday in the Caribbean for the midfielder who arrived at Fratton Park at the start of the year.

Etuhu is cherishing being given a second chance by Michael Appleton.

And he wants to do all he can to make sure that continues next season.

Etuhu’s career lay in tatters last year after he was sentenced to eight months in prison for his involvement in a fight in Manchester.

His contract with Manchester City was cancelled after the incident and his future looked bleak.

Appleton offered Etuhu a route back into the game, though, with a chance to play regular football at Pompey.

It is an opportunity which has left Etuhu humbled – and one he has taken with both hands.

The 23-year-old made 13 appearances over the second half of the campaign, adding energy and pace which was missing from the Pompey side.

Etuhu’s current wages fit nicely into the kind of structure the club would need to look to in League One, too.

Putting himself in the picture to be part of Pompey’s plans moving forward means Etuhu’s season will now continue apace.

And that ensures a summer of sunning himself and avoiding an athlete’s lifestyle is a no go.

Etuhu said: ‘My season hasn’t finished yet.

‘I started very late. I didn’t really start until February, so I’m going to keep going through the summer.

‘I want to get myself right and my body right for next year.

‘It’s going to be a tough one next year for this club.

‘I want to maintain things and spend a bit of time with my family.

‘But it’s going to be a hard one in League One, so I want to get myself right and be ready to go next season.’

After what has gone on in recent months, getting back out on the pitch has been a simple pleasure for Etuhu.

It’s a second chance he is thankful for – especially to Appleton.

The lifeline has been taken and his performances show there is enough quality for the Nigerian-born player to shine in League One.

And Etuhu has no qualms about continuing at Pompey in England’s third tier, given the chance.

He said: ‘I love football. There’s a lot that has happened to me in the last year. There’s been a lot of negatives, so to be back playing football is amazing. After that has happened it has made me cherish it even more.

‘I made a mistake but now I appreciate it even more.

‘Given the opportunity to stay here, I will take it and cherish it.

‘Of course I’d like to be here next season. I’d love to come and work here.’

Etuhu has more reason than most to be appreciative to Appleton.

He has no doubts about his quality as manager – and is the latest to add his glowing endorsement to those being given to the Blues boss, who has been linked with the West Brom job.

Appleton’s straight-talking and honest manner has been pinpointed as one of his key characteristics.

Etuhu believes that is exactly what a player wants – and needs.

The midfielder, who spent time on loan at Cardiff earlier in his career, said: ‘Michael is the best manager I’ve worked for and I’d love to continue working with him.

‘He’s unbelievable. Unbelievable.

‘He’s a great man manager. He’s up front, talks to you and tells you about what he wants you to do. That’s all you can ask for.’