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Pompey braced for whirlwind Westwood

 

Michael Appleton hailed the arrival of Ashley Westwood as his number two.

And the Pompey boss believes he will be introducing a ‘whirlwind’ into the Blues dressing room.

Westwood was at Westleigh Park on Saturday and was expected to be part of the travelling party for the squad’s Spanish training camp this week.

Appleton believes the 35-year-old will provide the perfect conduit between him and his players this season.

And he reckons the light-hearted approach Westwood employs will quickly make him a popular figure at the club.

Appleton said: ‘I think Ashley will be really good at bridging that gap between manager and players.

‘I feel I’m quite an approachable type of manager and my door is always open.

‘But Ashley is still a player, as such, although he has done his badges.

‘Every dressing room I’ve known him to go into he has been the most popular player.

‘He’s a likeable person who is very good in the dressing room.

‘He will be 100mph and like a whirlwind in there.

‘I think people will wonder what has hit them.

‘He’s a likeable character and a bubbly character and is always at the bottom of everything.

‘I think it is important to have these people around.

‘People may see me as being a little more subdued because I’m always thinking.

‘I don’t smile that often – but it’s not because I don’t mean to!

‘I’m always thinking of the next step ahead.

‘So it will be important to have someone to lighten the mood a bit.’

Westwood arrives from Lincoln – the latest stop-off in a nomadic career which has seen him play in the top four divisions of English football.

The defender was at Sincil Bank as a player but will now make the move into coaching at Pompey after a stint as Kettering player/manager this year.

Appleton explained he has been an intrigued observer of Westwood’s development.

He said: ‘We were together as scholars, we’ve kept in touch and we’ve stayed friends.

‘I’ve been quite interested in watching his progress because he’s played at every level.

‘I wasn’t sure if he’d go into the coaching side of it.

‘But he’s shocked me because we’ve bumped into each other at a lot of games.

‘He’s come to games with me as well.

‘His education going from player to this side of things has really surprised me.

‘When the opportunity came along I thought long and hard about various options and scenarios. I went with Ash in the end.’

Appleton will be employing a number two he knows as well as anyone in football.

Their association goes back to their teens as they came through the ranks at Manchester United.

Appleton said: ‘When we were at Manchester United, he was from Wigan but was an early driver.

‘I lived five minutes away from United, so I was on a bus every day.

‘So we were two of the local lads and we were training together once or twice a week, as you do at a school excellence, as it was then.

‘We’ve known each other for a long time.’

 

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