A MANAGERIAL philosophy based on patiently building from the back and passing the ball.
And tailor-made for Adam Barton.
The way we want to play, we don’t just want to get it in their half, we want to do it structurally, and the way we are going to do is that by playing from the backAdam Barton
The 24-year-old has been earmarked to serve as one of Paul Cook’s two holding midfielders in his Pompey side.
Highly comfortable on the ball, the ex-Coventry City man believes it is a system which dovetails perfectly with his natural game.
Many of Barton’s 30 matches for the Sky Blues last season were served in such a role, before his release by Tony Mowbray.
Now Fratton Park is his home and the Northern Ireland international is convinced Cook’s approach can bring out the very best in him.
He said: ‘A very big bonus for me is the manager wants to play football and that’s exactly the way I like to play the game.
‘It won’t be in my nature to go around smashing people, my aim of the game is to get the ball down, move it, go and get it again, keep going to get the ball, always be available and pass forward.
‘The way Paul Cook sets up his teams and the way he has spoken to me about how he wants to play is exactly the same philosophy. I cannot argue on that front.
‘I played in a holding role a lot in Tony Mowbray’s 4-2-3-1 towards the end of last season. I am very familiar with it and it is my position at the end of the day.
‘The way we want to play, we don’t just want to get it in their half, we want to do it structurally, and the way we are going to do that is by playing from the back.
‘Once the defenders get the ball their first thought is to look for the two central midfielders and then it is our jobs to either get it out wide for a cross or through the middle for a shot.
‘There were times when Tony Mowbray gave me different roles, wanting me to get into little pockets in between defence and midfield and I enjoyed that – but it didn’t come naturally to me as a central midfielder.
‘I’m looking to build play up and start attacks and the holding role is one, hopefully, I suit and fit into.’
Barton spent three seasons at Coventry, making 73 appearances and scoring three goals.
While there he also worked with Pompey’s new first-team coach Ian Foster – a connection which certainly would have influenced the midfielder’s arrival.
Barton ended the campaign starting 16 of the Sky Blues’ last 18 matches as he established himself as a regular.
Yet he was among eight players released by Mowbray after the club finished 17th during another disappointing League One season.
Now the former Preston North End trainee is seeking to make a Blues impact.
He added: ‘What started to be a bad season at Coventry turned out to be one that was good for me.
‘In the end I was 50/50 about whether I would be given a new contract.
‘It was strange how Tony Mowbray played me for basically every single game he was there and even put me in a position to try to get me on the ball more – then let me go.
‘But I think there were other reasons as well rather than just the footballing side of things, which I can’t really go into.’