Former Millwall midfield pair's friendship away from football can help get Portsmouth firing on the field

Ryan Tunnicliffe believes his relationship with Shaun Williams away from football can help bring the best for Pompey on the pitch.

Friday, 30th July 2021, 4:55 am
Pompey midfielder Ryan Tunnicliffe

The former Millwall midfield pair were reunited at PO4 earlier this summer after arriving on free transfers.

Both were plying their trade in the Championship last term, with Tunnicliffe at Luton and Irishman Williams on the books of the Lions.

It was at Millwall where the Blues midfield duo first struck up a friendship on and off the field.

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Tunnicliffe moved to south east London in July 2017 and spent two seasons at The Den.

He arrived with Williams already an integral part of the Millwall midfield having signed from MK Dons in January 2014.

The centre midfield duo struck up a partnership on the pitch and became friends away from football – remaining in contact even after Tunnicliffe's departure from The Den in 2019.

So far, the close pals have provided head coach Danny Cowley’s starting deep-lying midfield pairing in Pompey’s four first team friendlies to date.

Shaun Williams, pictured, is good friends with Pompey team-mate Ryan Tunnicliffe away from the field

Tunnicliffe, 27, feels time playing alongside each other again in pre-season, coupled with the fact they already know how the other plays, should ensure they hit the ground running with the Blues come the start of the League One campaign.

Tunnicliffe said: ‘It’s obviously a new partnership at Portsmouth but we’ve played together probably 40 times for Millwall.

‘We know each others games, he knows my strengths and weaknesses and I think we will compliment each other really well.

‘We’ve got a previous relationship, he knows my strengths and weaknesses and I know his.

‘We gelled really well at Millwall, we’re close mates, we have been since I left the club and hopefully that can only bring good things for Portsmouth.

‘I’ll play advanced, it’s where I like to play box-to-box, I’ll let Willo do the sitting and sweeping and I’ll try to get up and down and get the glory.’

Tunnicliffe made 59 Millwall appearances during his two seasons at the club before moving to Luton in the summer of 2019.

Both he and Williams, who departed The Den this summer after a six-year stay and 295 club appearances, were operating in the second tier last term.

And Tunnicliffe says that's where he intends to help take Pompey this season – chipping in with a few goals on the way to a hoped promotion as well.

The summer Blues recruit said: ‘I think that’s got to be the aim (promotion), it’s obviously a massive club, you can see that from the game (Hawks friendly) with the fans in the ground.

‘It’s got to be the aim (promotion), I think everyone will go in wanting to get promoted, but I think we’ve got a real good shot and it’s what we’ve got to be looking to be going.

‘I didn’t play as much as I’d like to last year but I scored a few goals over a short period of time.

‘If I score goals it takes pressure off the front men and it can only help us with results so I’ll be looking to do that even more.’