'It's a myth': Ex-Middlesbrough and Accrington right-back Callum Johnson sets the record straight over Portsmouth exit which disappointed fans

Callum Johnson insists he remains in the dark over why he had no Pompey future under Danny Cowley.

Thursday, 26th May 2022, 5:00 pm
Pompey have shown the door to Callum Johnson following two seasons at Fratton Park. Picture: Nigel Keene/ProSportsImages
Pompey have shown the door to Callum Johnson following two seasons at Fratton Park. Picture: Nigel Keene/ProSportsImages

And the 25-year-old has branded suggestions of homesickness driving his departure as ‘a myth’.

The £100,000 capture from Accrington in September 2020 has been released following two years at Fratton Park.

He featured just twice this term before sent on a season-long loan to Fleetwood, with Cowley preferring Kieron Freeman and loanee Mahlon Romeo at right-back.

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Johnson totalled 44 games and one goal during his time at Pompey, while polled third in the supporters’ vote for the 2020-21 The News/Sports Mail’s Player of the Season.

However, he is at a loss to explain why his face didn’t fit under Cowley following the ex-Lincoln boss’ permanent appointment as head coach.

Johnson told The News: ‘I’m not really sure why Danny didn’t fancy me, that’s the honest answer.

‘Managers obviously have opinions, that’s what makes football special, but I honestly don’t know the answer to that.

‘You can take it if someone sits you down, talks to you and tells you “Look, I want someone with this, that and the other – but you haven’t got that”. That’s fine.

‘But sometimes you don’t get that, sometimes you don’t get people telling you things, so you’ve just got to get on with it. It was never explained to me.

‘I was only told I wasn’t part of his plans on the day I moved to Fleetwood, although there were a few signs which made me think that it’s probably for the best to move on.

‘I would have stayed at Pompey and tried to play games, I loved my first season there, it’s a great club, but different things happened which ended up making my decision easy to play at Fleetwood instead.

‘I believe I had a solid first season, a good season, especially as it’s the first time I had really moved away (from the north).

‘There was definitely more to come from me. There were games in which I felt I could have done better, but I was fairly solid and consistent.

‘I would have liked to have got a few more goals and some more assists, I was looking forward to trying to build on that and improve, which I think I would have done.’

Pompey represented Johnson’s first club away from his native north.

A Middlesbrough fan hailing from Yarm, North Yorkshire, he represented Boro along with Accrington Stanley, in addition to this season’s Fleetwood loan.

But he is adamant he was settled on the south coast with Pompey – and did not seek a return up north.

He added: ‘I have seen a few things about me being homesick and it’s not true.

‘There have definitely been things which have been misinterpreted, I’m not sure why, I’m not sure how, I’ve got a fairly good idea, but that wasn’t true.

‘I actually loved my time down south. As much as I am a northerner, I did enjoy the sunny weather and living in Fareham with my girlfriend, it’s a great area. I didn’t want to go.

‘Homesickness is a myth, I am not sure who planted that.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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