'Forget about my age, I want to play until I'm 40': Why Portsmouth veteran and ex-Reading, Charlton, Birmingham and Sheffield Wednesday man not ready to wind down career

Evergreen Michael Morrison targeted playing on until 40 and insisted: Age is just a number.

Tuesday, 2nd August 2022, 11:30 am

Pompey’s recent recruit turns 35 in March and is closing down on 700 career matches.

It’s a CV bulging with experience, with Cambridge United, Leicester City, Sheffield Wednesday, Charlton, Birmingham and Reading among previous clubs.

Certainly Morrison’s impressive credentials and leadership skills persuaded Danny Cowley to snap him up on a free transfer last week.

And while some supporters have questioned the logic of signing a 34-year-old, the central defender is adamant that talk surrounding his age is misleading.

Morrison told The News: ‘I am 34, I can’t change that, but I feel strong and age is just a number.

‘When you look at how robust a player can be over the season, I probably have more of a track record than someone aged 19-20. I’ve played at least 30 games a year over the last 10-15 years.

‘I’m not concerned about my age. When I left Reading, retirement wasn’t in my plans at all. I’d love to play until I’m 40.

Michael Morrison battles with Sheffield Wednesday's Josh Windass on his Pompey debut last weekend. Picture: Steve Ellis

‘I don’t know whether that’s realistic, if you set goals and drop down to 38 then I would still be very happy. I just want to play for as long as I can.

‘I played 29 Championship games last year, 35 the year before that and 44 the year before that. I don’t think there’s a time where I’ve been trying to see out my career.

‘I love playing football, it’s the best job in the world, that’s why I haven’t stopped playing – and I want to play for as long as I can.

‘Sometimes people say older players aren’t motivated, but, when you realise you’ve only got a few more years left, you enjoy every moment even more.

‘You’re excited about it because you know it’s not going to be there forever. Whereas sometimes when you are 21-22, you think it's lasting forever.

‘I feel fine, I’m not looking to tail down or have extra days off. Then again, it’s all well and good saying I feel great – I suppose it’s about showing everybody that you are great.’

Morrison was handed a Blues bow at Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday in place of the injured Clark Robertson.

And he believes his experience around the dressing room can also benefit the younger members of Pompey’s squad.

He added: ‘There’s a lot of talk about the model which clubs nowadays have in terms of seeing young players as assets and selling them on, which I completely understand.

‘But it’s also about how you set the culture within the football club and pass on knowledge. If you have a team of young players, how are they going to know what the standards are?

‘So I believe there’s a place for older players to support the younger players.

‘It actually makes them a better product for the football club by having those older players alongside them.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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