'It would have been selfish': Portsmouth boss on why ex-Norwich, Swindon and Shrewsbury man had to leave Fratton Park

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John Mousinho admits it would have been ‘selfish’ to have kept Louis Thompson at Fratton Park.

Now the midfielder will face his former club as the Blues venture to high-flying Stevenage on Saturday.

Steve Evans’ summer signing has started all four of their League One matches so far this season, helping them into fifth spot, one place above Pompey.

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Thompson’s free-transfer switch represents the opportunity for regular first-team football after making just 11 appearances under Mousinho last term.

Pompey’s head coach revealed he contemplated handing the 28-year-old a new contract this summer.

Yet after 57 games and two goals in two south-coast seasons, the pair felt a parting of the ways was necessary.

Mousinho told The News: ‘Louis was great to have around the dressing room and one of those senior leaders.

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‘He’s played a long time now and seen most things, he was always good to lean on and kept his attitude brilliant all the way through, even when he wasn’t playing games.

Pompey will come up against former midfielder Louis Thompson on Saturday. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImagesPompey will come up against former midfielder Louis Thompson on Saturday. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages
Pompey will come up against former midfielder Louis Thompson on Saturday. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages

‘We considered offering a new deal and the initial conversation was that if he wanted to stay around and have a similar role to last year then we might be able to sort something out.

‘The answer was quite right and what we expected to hear – Louis wanted to push himself and play a lot more games.

‘Him leaving was a difficult decision because, selfishly, part of us would have liked to keep Louis around. Ultimately, though, the question to him was do you want to play 30-50 games next year?

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‘The answer was “Yes” – and we didn’t want to hold him back. The answer from us was it’s not going to be here, even though we’d love to have you around.

‘Louis made five starts under me and came off the bench six times, but the midfield competition was difficult with Joe Morrell, Marlon Pack, Ryan Tunnicliffe and Tom Lowery, so tough for him to cement his place in the team.

‘That was one of the reasons why we shook hands in the summer and parted company. Lois wanted to play 40-50 games and we didn’t necessarily think that would be here.

‘We knew there’d be plenty of interest and loads of clubs and managers called me about him because of his attitude, the way he had gone about his business, and his footballing ability.’

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However, Louis’ brother Nathan will play no part in Lamex Stadium proceedings.

The right-back is serving a one-match suspension having been sent off in their 2-0 defeat to Reading last weekend.

In March 2018, Mousinho was part of Oxford United’s team which lost 3-0 at Pompey, with Nathan involved in controversy.

When Alex Mowatt missed a second-half penalty, he lashed out at the Pompey full-back, who had been goading him, earning the U’s man a straight red.

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Mousinho added: ‘We were 1-0 down and I’m thinking “If we score this penalty, then we’ll be right back in it”.

‘I was watching it from 20 yards away, but didn’t see what subsequently happened after the penalty miss as the ball was still in play.

‘It was a bit unsavoury, Alex should never have done that. Who knows, Nathan may look back on it with a slight tinge of regret, but maybe not.’