Whittingham delight at his ‘big signing’

Johnny Ertl, left, has penned a three-year Pompey deal   Picture: Joe Pepler
Johnny Ertl, left, has penned a three-year Pompey deal Picture: Joe Pepler
Smoke bombs were let off during Pompey's match against Charlton today. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Guy Whittingham has paid tribute to his ‘big signing’ of Johnny Ertl.

The Pompey skipper yesterday put pen to paper on a three-year deal to keep him at Fratton Park.

The 30-year-old revealed in The News two weeks ago of his intention to commit his long-term future to the Blues.

Now Ertl has signed his contract, making him Whittingham’s 13th recruit of a busy summer so far.

And Pompey’s boss was beaming over retaining a player who will once again be a key figure in his side as they bid to climb out of League Two at the first time of asking.

Whittingham said: ‘It is a big signing – and on a long-term contract.

‘I’m so pleased to have Johnny on board. I think he is typical of the type of person we want at this football club.

‘He is so enthusiastic, people bounce things off him and he is a hard worker.

‘Since he took the captain’s armband he has been fantastic for us and leads by example, with the way he puts himself about on the pitch, his will and his dedication to the role.

‘He’s our player of the year, captain and a very important figure around the place and it’s fantastic he’s coming back.’

Ertl initially struggled to establish himself in the side, yet went on to make more appearances last season than any other Pompey player.

He played 39 matches in total, although didn’t manage to find the back of the net.

Having originally arrived as a triallist in August, the Austrian made his debut at centre half against Oldham.

The former Crystal Palace man later cemented a spot for himself in centre midfield and was later voted as The News’ player of the season by our readers.