From the Pompey stands to the England stage

Dan Kemp was at Fratton Park to witness his beloved Pompey crowned League Two champions.

Thursday, 8th June 2017, 10:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 13th June 2017, 3:46 pm

Now the 18-year-old is seeking to participate in further glory when he steps out for England under-20s this afternoon.

The West Ham midfielder has made two appearances during the Three Lions’ progress to the semi-finals of the Toulon Tournament.

Today they face Scotland in the Stade Parsemain (4pm British time) for the right to meet either the Czech Republic or the Ivory Coast in the final.

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The ex-Pompey season-ticket holder’s reputation continues to blossom as he attempts to carve out a future in the game.

Despite hailing from Bexley, in Kent, Kemp has been reared on the ways of the Blues through dad Steve and Fareham-based granddad Dave.

He served as a mascot against Sheffield United during the 2002-03 promotion season, while was in attendance at Wembley for FA Cup final trips in 2008 and 2010.

And the Blues fanatic remains immensely proud of his club.

Dad Steve said: ‘There will be people in Pompey who know Dan from being a little boy aged three sitting on my lap at Fratton Park, transfixed watching the football.

‘He’s proud to be a Pompey boy and 100 per cent a Pompey fan, despite associated with West Ham and before that Chelsea. He’s never had a problem admitting he is a Pompey fan through and through.

‘Dan’s where he is through an awful lot of work, but is always proud to go back to his Pompey roots.

‘He’s been a season-ticket holder, his grandparents live in Portsmouth. The city has always been a big part of our family.

‘As long-suffering Pompey fans, we were in the South Stand for the Cheltenham game and it was wonderful. It’s great to see us finally going in the right direction.’

Kemp spent eight years as a Pompey season-ticket holder, accompanying his dad from Kent for home matches.

However, upon going full-time with Chelsea at under-14 level, the youngster had to relinquish his trips to Fratton Park.

In November 2015, he joined the Hammers for an undisclosed fee and was an unused sub in their final game of the Premier League season at Burnley.

Since then he has made his England breakthrough – and has success in his sights.

His dad added: ‘Mason Mount is Dan’s best mate, they spent 10 years together at Chelsea and before that would kick lumps out of each other down at Milton!

‘Dan was offered an Academy place by Pompey at under-nines level, but there was also interest from Charlton, Arsenal and Chelsea.

‘Unfortunately, living in Bexley, logistically it wasn’t a sensible decision to join the club he supports.

‘Now he’s at West Ham, which we thought was the best move for him at the time.

‘He played 20 under-23 matches last season and was nominated for the club’s Scholar of the Year award.

‘He’ll always be a Pompey fan, though!’