Ex-Portsmouth defender: I owe it all to Bognor after Football League return with Brentford

Ethan Robb is convinced he’s a better player than the one rejected by Pompey last summer.

Friday, 12th February 2021, 6:30 am
Ethan Robb made 13 appearances for Bognor before earning a loan move to Championship side Brentford. Picture: T Staff

And the Brentford defender has credited regular football in the men’s game with Bognor for enabling him to flourish.

The 18-year-old from Clanfield completed a shock return to the Football League earlier this month.

Released by Pompey at the end of his two-year scholarship, he had trials at Moneyfields and Portchester before agreeing a season-long deal with Bognor in August.

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Robb soon established himself at the heart of the Isthmian League Premier Division side’s defence, making 13 appearances.

And Robb insists he owes his second chance to the Nyewood Lane club.

He told The News: ‘I am really grateful to Bognor.

Ethan Robb in action for Pompey against Liverpool in the FA Youth Cup in December 2018. Picture: Colin Farmery

‘When I arrived, they were a well-settled team, with quite a few players who have been there for a number of years. So to go in and play week in, week out in men’s football was exactly what I needed.

‘The manager and coaches there trusted me and I owe them a lot.

‘I am definitely a better player than the one who left Pompey at the end of last season. I developed the moment I started playing men’s football.

‘It’s a whole other world, completely different to what I was used to. I’m an 18-year-old coming up against 6ft 4in strikers – you don’t really get that in Academy football!

‘There is also more importance about results. Managers can get sacked if their side is not doing well, while players can be dropped and relying on football’s weekly wage. Every match is about winning.

‘The Isthmian League is a very good standard, you come up against experienced players, players who have been at a higher level, been at big clubs previously. It’s what my game needed.

‘Bognor gave me the opportunity to step into men’s football and I owe them so much. It definitely developed as a player and a person.’

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From Robb’s age group, Harry Kavanagh, Haji Mnoga, Alfie Stanley and Eoin Teggart earned extended Fratton Park stays.

Mnoga, who signed his first professional deal in December 2019, has made seven first-team appearances this term, including his Football League debut.

‘Even if you look at Pompey’s first-team, over the last five years ago quite a few have gone on to play higher, such as Adam Webster, Conor Chaplin and Jamal Lowe.

‘You have so many players out there in non-league football who are good enough, but just haven’t been spotted. It’s how football goes.

‘It’s all about luck in terms of being watched at the right time. You might be having one good game in five, but because someone is watching for that good performance, you may get an opportunity.

‘Hopefully I can make an impression at Brentford and win a longer stay.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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