Danny Cowley's verdict on Jack Whatmough's decision to reject Portsmouth contract for Wigan Athletic ahead of reunion

Danny Cowley insisted he respected Jack Whatmough’s decision to turn down a Pompey stay as he prepared to face his hometown club for the first time.

Friday, 27th August 2021, 5:00 pm

The Gosport lad will tomorrow go up against the outfit he came through the ranks at, made his debut for in 2013 aged 17 and went on to become their longest-serving player.

Whatmough turned down the chance of a Fratton stay to move to the DW Stadium, as part of the Latics’ summer spending spree.

The 25-year-old was adamant money was never his motivation for his exit, rather the length of the contract which was on the table – with Pompey keen to structure an extension around appearances after his injury issues.

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Still, Whatmough’s emotions are certain to be running high as he faces his old side just two months after his exit, along with former skipper Tom Naylor.

Cowley has nothing but good things to say about the central defender, with Whatmough viewed as a priority to keep by the 42-year-old among the squad he inherited from Kenny Jackett.

He said: ‘I think we made it clear we would’ve liked Jack.

Jack Whatmough. Picture: Joe Pepler

‘He certainly is a top player and top centre-half at this level.

‘We would’ve liked him, it just wasn’t possible. We respected and understood that, but were disappointed by it.

‘He’s a top player and an even better person. I loved working with him.

‘I wouldn’t want to put words in his mouth, but he had a decision to make.

‘He grew up here at his hometown club, but had to make a professional decision for him and his family. We respected that.

‘What was hard for us was he’d had some injury problems.

‘He’d played 35 games and been available for 42 but picked up suspensions, but there was some nervousness because he’d had quite a unique operation.

‘If he’d not had those injuries he would’ve been in the Championship, and a top Championship player.’

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