Â£10m keeper relishing Pompey return
Asmir Begovic admitted Pompey will forever remain in his affections as he prepares for a Fratton Park reunion.
Bournemouth tomorrow (3pm) face Kenny Jackett’s side as the Blues step up their pre-season opposition.
The Cherries will include £10m summer recruit Begovic, who departed Pompey in controversial circumstances in January 2010.
The Bosnia-Herzegovina keeper made 17 appearances before sold to Stoke – with Pompey forced to pay £1m compensation to suitors Spurs in the process.
Now aged 30, Begovic has established himself as a Premier League talent.
And has fond memories of his time with the Blues.
He told the Bournemouth Daily Echo: ‘Fratton Park always brings good experiences, I had a really good time at Portsmouth for six-and-a-half years.
‘They gave me the chance to play in the Premier League and they believed in me for all those years, being able to go through the process of becoming a professional and getting to the level I am today.
‘It will be nice to go back as I haven’t been there in a while. There have been a lot of changes at that club over the years but, overall, I’m excited to go back.
‘It was a difficult time (when there). There was a lot of uncertainty for people. They were pushing some younger players through and that gave me the chance to play in the Premier League, which was great.
‘I didn’t particularly want to leave the club at that time, but the financial situation at the club dictated that and I was sold along with a few other players and it was time to move on.
‘I had a really good time there and it’s a shame things didn’t work out for the club the way they should have, because they deserve to be at a higher level than they are.
‘Hopefully, with the right people in charge and the right infrastructure in place, they can really push through the leagues and compete at the highest level.
‘I don’t see why they can’t get promoted to the Championship this year. I’m sure they will be at a higher level in time, they have an amazing fan base.
‘It’s amazing the amount of people they get at games no matter what division they are playing in. I wish them all the best.’
Begovic made his Pompey debut in May 2009 against Sunderland under Paul Hart.
The following season he shone while deputising for the injured David James and was sold to Stoke.