MATT CLARKE has revealed the reasons behind extending his Pompey contract.
The highly-touted defender underlined his contentment at Fratton Park after signing improved terms.
Clarke’s deal – a one-year extension – now carries him through until the summer of 2020, after his new agreement was announced on Wednesday.
The 21-year-old has been linked with a host of Premier League and Championships clubs after producing more impressive form this season.
But the regular football he is seeing under Kenny Jackett is what made it an easy decision to ink a new deal.
The fact Clarke clocked up his 100th Blues appearance last weekend at such a young age reveals everything about why he’s happy where he is.
And the former Ipswich man explained that led to a new contract being quickly resolved.
Clarke said: ‘The contract’s been going on behind the scenes for a period of time.
‘Over the past couple of weeks it’s got sorted and I’m happy it’s done.
‘I didn’t want it looming over me month on month, so I’m happy about that.
‘That means I can now get on with my work here and the work in hand.
‘There’s always a happy medium to find between the club and player, but it’s over the line now and something to enjoy.
‘In the long term, though, it’s good for me and good for the club.
‘I’m playing a lot of football at the moment and as much as I can. That’s all I want to do. I’m loving it here, so it was an easy decision.’
Wolves are the latest side, along with Hull, Brighton, Leeds and Watford, in being linked with Clarke.
Pompey didn’t receive any deadline-day bids, however, as the centre-half watched the furore over his future develop while eating his tea.
He said: ‘It’s nice to be linked with clubs in a higher league, but the most rewarding thing for me is picking up three points.
‘That’s ultimately what you have to be doing. You want the team to be doing well and winning games.
‘Things pop up among the fans and they huff and puff. I was at home having tea like normal on deadline day and was calm and composed. It was like any day.
‘My mates were texting me asking me what I’m doing because of the talk. I told them I was at home eating my tea!
‘You have to laugh it off until there’s concrete offers and it gets serious.
‘It seems people need to make up stories, but it’s just one of those things.’
Clarke will be given a test of his credentials tomorrow against in-form Southend who have experience up front in Simon Cox and Marc-Antoine Fortune.
‘They’re a team in good form, so you expect much of what this league is all about,’ added Clarke.
‘There’s going to be lots of headers and set-pieces to deal with.
‘We have to make sure that we’re the team who come out on top in those areas and duels. There’s Fortune and Cox. They’re a good partnership and there’s good players there.
‘Wigan were flying until they went there. It shows we can’t underestimate them and have to be as professional as we can to go about the job and get a result.’