Portsmouth’s decision to release Southsea midfielder Freddie Read was tough call

Mark Kelly admitted Pompey’s decision to release Freddie Read was a tough call to make.
Freddie Read. Picture: Joe PeplerFreddie Read. Picture: Joe Pepler
Freddie Read. Picture: Joe Pepler

But midfield competition in the first team, coupled with the Southsea talent’s desire to start playing senior football, was the reason behind his departure.

The 18-year-old made two appearances on the road to the Blues’ Checkatrade Trophy triumph, coming against Arsenal under-21s and Southend.

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However, it’s Academy trio Joe Hancott, Bradley Lethbridge and Leon Maloney who have been tabled third-year scholarships.

Read’s Fratton Park journey will come to an end this month along with Oscar Johnston and James Whiting.

Joe Dandy and Josh Flint will return for pre-season to finish the final stage of their rehab following long-term injuries.

Kenny Jackett’s squad already consists of a number of centre midfielders, including academy graduates Ben Close and Adam May, and Read was unlikely to break into the reckoning.

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And having been out on loan at Gosport Borough this term, the youngster is keen to start being exposed to the men’s game on a weekly basis.

The Blues’ youth boss Kelly said: ‘It was a tough call from all of us.

‘But there is really strong competition in the midfield area – it’s a really strong element at the moment.

‘We’ve got young lads like Closey and Adam May, the group that Ken’s got and then even our younger group.

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‘It’s a hard corridor and Freddie wants to get exposure to senior football.

‘It’s probably a good thing he goes out and already has having gone over to Gosport.

‘Hopefully he will go out and play at a level but it’s a hard decision to make.

‘Sometimes you’ve got to help the boys by letting them go out and find some different avenues.

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‘Freddie is very open to that and it was a two-way conversation.

‘He was very much of the opinion that he needs to go out and find some senior football.

‘He’s been a solid performer but sometimes it comes down to competition.

‘It’s tough and sometimes they’re hard calls to make.’

Kelly insists Read, who went on Pompey’s pre-season tour to Cork last summer, can still forge a Football League career.

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He pinpointed how Blues forwards Jamal Lowe and Louis Dennis dropped into non-league before working their way back up the pyramid.

Kelly added: ‘I’m not saying Freddie won’t go out and build a career – how many times have you seen players go out and do it.

‘Sometimes as staff you’ve got to be brave enough.

‘If you think the pathway is going to be blocked then they need to go and find a level they can excel at.

‘Sometimes that’s the way development goes – look at Jamal Lowe and Louis Dennis.

‘It’s a different dynamic and football is a long journey that can have different turns.

'That’s happened for Freddie and he’s obviously got the support of all of us behind him.’