Webster latest to flourish in non-league climes

Adam Webster in action for England
Adam Webster in action for England
Jamal Lowe Picture: Joe Pepler

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It’s a trail well worn by Academy contemporaries during the past year, now Adam Webster is also thriving in the non-league environment.

The Pompey defender joined Aldershot on the eve of the Skrill Premier campaign in an attempt to get precious first-team game time.

Since then he has been an ever-present in the league for the Shots, playing as a left-sided centre-back in 12 matches which have produced five clean sheets.

Webster’s progress has been picked up by England, who have recalled him to their under-19 squad for the forthcoming European Championships qualifying tournament.

After this weekend’s fixture with Grimsby, he will link-up with Noel Blake’s team for the Slovenia trip, which takes in three group matches.

In contrast, Ashley Harris was an unused substitute for a third successive match at the Hawks on Tuesday night.

His one-month loan spell has seen him play just one-and-a-half games.

Webster’s Aldershot deal expires in January and Guy Whittingham has seen at first hand the development of the youngster’s game.

He said: ‘Adam is doing very well at Aldershot. They are very pleased.

‘He’s playing as a left-sided centre-half, is turning out for six matches every month and is really enjoying it. That’s the whole point of him going over there.

‘I have been twice to see him myself and other people have been to watch.

‘We get reports back on how he’s doing and keep in constant contact with him to make sure he is okay.

‘You can definitely see the improvement.

‘He has become a lot more confident and is shouting out a hell of a lot more than he used to.

‘Now he has been called up by England, which he has done in the past when with us and wasn’t playing.

‘Once you are in that fold they keep an eye on you.

‘It’s like the younger kids as well, they have to be prepared to go out and play football somewhere and say ‘listen I want to play football’. It’s what Jed did last year at Whitehawk, which is a lower level.’

No such joy for Jack Maloney at Aldershot, though, who returned to Pompey from his loan early without making an appearance.

Another who made his bow for Pompey last term was Nick Awford, who is presently on loan at Gosport.

To date the central midfielder has made two appearances for Alex Pike’s Borough.

Whittingham added: ‘Jack is back with us now as he wasn’t getting a game.

‘The one game I went to see he was sat behind me. We thought he was going to be involved down the line so there was no point in the lad staying there.

‘Aldershot do what they think is best. I am not going to argue or say whether they did it right or wrong but he is back now.

‘Nick has gone out on loan to Gosport to get some games and prove his worth – that is what you have got to be prepared to do.’