Barker: Captaincy showed faith in Diagouraga

Toumani Diagouraga sporting the captain's armband at Fleetwood. Picture: Joe Pepler
Toumani Diagouraga sporting the captain's armband at Fleetwood. Picture: Joe Pepler
Matt Clarke celebrates his goal at MK Dons. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Richie Barker believes his captaincy show of faith helped convince Toumani Diagouraga to remain at Fratton Park.

The Brentford player provided Pompey with a massive boost on Monday by agreeing to remain for the rest of the season.

Diagouraga has been an impressive central-midfield figure during his initial six matches on loan.

Against Fleetwood he was even named skipper – despite the clash potentially being his final game for the club, as his one-month deal came to a close.

It was recognition from Barker in the 26-year-old’s all-round attributes and how highly he is regarded at the Blues.

And with other clubs also showing interest in taking Diagouraga on loan, Pompey’s manager insists the captaincy role may have sealed his return.

Barker said: ‘I took a gamble with Toumani as captain because I wanted him to know how highly we thought of him.

‘From what I can gather, he has really appreciated the show of faith we have given him here and was eager to remain.

‘I like captains who can do it in the middle of the pitch because they can see it all around them.

‘Sometimes if you have somebody at left-back or right-back you can’t communicate or get information to the other side of the pitch, so I like people predominantly centrally taking it on.

‘I thought Bondz (N’Gala) and Joe (Devera) needed to concentrate on their defending, while Jack (Whatmough) is young.

‘Toumani has got a good knowledge of the game and can give good knowledge and good information to those around him.

‘Of course it may have been his last game, but in terms of where he plays and his knowledge of the game, it just seemed right to do it.’

Diagouraga has appeared 17 times for Brentford this season, although just seven have been league starts.