'Inspirational' - Former Portsmouth, Middlesbrough, Everton and Blackburn striker Yakubu hailed for special one-off return to Fratton Park club

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Danny Cowley admitted former Pompey striker Yakubu was an inspiration on his return to the club last week.

The Nigerian frontman, who scored 43 goals in 92 appearances for the Blues, visited the club’s training ground for a special session with the academy.

But it wasn’t just the youngsters who made the most of the Blues’ highest-ever goalscorer in the Premier League’s presence.

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Pompey’s first-team players were also in awe of the former Fratton favourite, including star-struck Marlon Pack, who was an avid Blues fan when Yakubu was banging in the goals for Harry Redknapp’s then side.

The striker, whose goals helped the Blues win promotion to the top flight in 2003, took part in a Q&A with the club’s youngsters, before joining them on the training pitch.

He demonstrated that he’s still got the skills in front of goal, despite now being 39 years of age.

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And Cowley hailed his presence as all Pompey players benefitted from his visit.

Former Pompey striker Yakubu was back with the Blues last weekFormer Pompey striker Yakubu was back with the Blues last week
Former Pompey striker Yakubu was back with the Blues last week

Speaking to The News, the Blues boss said: ‘It’s brilliant, it was great to see him come down and spend some time with the young players.

‘He’s really inspirational – even for some of our senior players, like Marlon Pack, who would have been cheering him on from the Fratton End whenever he played.

‘So it was great for both our young players and our senior players to spend some time with him.

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‘One of the weeks we have with our academy, from all the age groups, is a Yakubu week were they focus on his strengths, which was scoring goals.

‘So the young players, before training in the morning, they get a video, not only of Yakubu, but some of our first-team players and our under-18 players scoring goals and creating goals and that’s the focus of their training session that night.

‘I’m not sure I would do much school work if I watched this video in the morning because I’d be super excited to go to training and it might impinge on my education!

‘But it’s a great idea and it’s brilliant the academy coaches have come up with this.

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‘It’s always about trying to bring learning into life, so that’s great, and I’m sure all of our players will have benefitted from him coming down.’

Arriving originally on loan from Maccabi Haifa in January 2003, Yakubu scored seven goals in 13 league appearances to help Pompey clinch the old First Division title ahead of Leicester.

After then joining on a permanent deal for £4m, he netted 29 Premiership goals over the next two seasons before being sold to Middlesbrough in the summer of 2005 for £7.5m.

Spells at Everton, Leicester, Blackburn, Guangzhou Evergrande, Reading and Coventry followed, before Yakubu hung up his boots in 2017.