Matt Clarke was destined for the Premier League – and Adam Webster will follow.
That’s the verdict of Gary Roberts, as he watches the impressive progress of his former Pompey team-mates.
Clarke and Webster lined up together at the heart of Paul Cook’s defence on 10 occasions during the 2015-16 campaign.
That summer, Webster departed for Ipswich, with Clarke’s loan made permanent and £750,000 banked by the Blues in exchange.
Now the 22-year-old Clarke is on his way to Brighton, putting him in the frame for Premier League football next season.
Similarly, Bristol City’s Webster has been linked with a host of top-flight clubs, among them Aston Villa, Newcastle and Southampton.
And Roberts is convinced his ex-Fratton Park colleagues can thrive at the very top.
He said: ‘Clarkie came in the first day and you just knew straight away. This man in a boy’s body who looks 40 – it was “Wow, this fella can play”.
‘Within a couple of weeks, Clarkie was in the team – and never looked back.
‘He’s a left-footed centre-half who can come out with the ball, can head it, tackle, is brave and has everything.
‘I think will now establish himself in the Premier League, I really do. He will play, not just sit in Brighton’s squad, he will have a good career.
‘The two centre-halves there – Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk – are maybe their best players, so it will be tough to get into the team initially.
‘Clarkie’s so disciplined, though, a real hard worker, he’s in the gym every morning, he’s a monster, an absolute monster.
‘He’s also a lovely lad, lives his life right and has everything to go and play at the top level.
‘It’s the same for Webbo. Webbo could play in the Premier League as well, he’s a Rolls-Royce player, both are comfortable coming out with the ball, although Clarkie is a bit stronger defensively.
‘For such a young boy, a young man, Clarkie is only going to get better. Centre-halves improve when they get a bit older, aged 27-28, that’s when they really know the game.
‘If he keeps looking after himself and stays injury free, the sky’s the limit for him.’
Webster was named Bristol City’s player of the season during his maiden season with the club.
Recruited from Ipswich last summer, the 24-year-old also appears on track to reach the Premier League.
Roberts added: ‘Webbo is unbelievable, I still speak to him, he is such a lovely kid, you want people like those pair to do well – and I think they will.
‘Webbo has kicked on again, he is among the best Championship defenders now, there’s a lot of people speaking about him. I’m a great fan.
‘And he will also go to the top level.’