‘Literally a dream come true’: A lifetime’s ambition becomes reality as extent of Portsmouth skipper’s incredible leadership laid bare

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John Mousinho paid an emotional tribute to his dressing room leader as Marlon Pack’s Pompey dreams became a reality.

And the Blues boss lauded his skipper’s leadership skills as beyond anything he’s seen in his football career, as the midfielder raised the League One trophy aloft at Fratton Park.

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Pack crowned an incredible week in his life, as he followed up winning the title by being presented with the silverware after being named The News’ Player of the Season for the 2023-24 campaign.

The achievement represents the Buckland boy’s long-held ambitions becoming reality, after returning to his hometown club in 2022 - 11 years on from his departure following just a single senior appearance.

Mousinho said: ‘It’s amazing for him. It’s literally a dream come true for Marlon. He’s a lad who’s born and bred here, a Pompey season ticket who came through the ranks.

‘I played with him when he was a coming through at the age of 18 or 19, when he came on loan to Wycombe.

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‘To come back to his hometown club and do that is the stuff dreams are made of.

‘He fully deserves it. You could see what the other night meant to him. To come back and celebrate that is very, very special to Marlon and everyone who knows him in Portsmouth - which pretty much everyone does!’

Pack follows in the footsteps of the likes of Mark Hateley, Darren Anderton, Peter Crouch, Glen Johnson and David James, as he collected The News award - one of 11 trophies he received.

Mousinho believes it’s well-deserved recognition for the 33-year-old, whose leadership surpasses what he’s seen in his long career in the game.

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He added: ‘There’s no doubt he’s been superb this year, coming back from the injury he had last season when he had surgery and missed quite a large chunk of the season.

‘He came back, got himself going in the last four and then has been just superb week in, week out for us.

‘As a leader he’s right up there in terms of characters I’ve played with and coached over the years. When I say right up there, I mean at the top in terms of how he galvanises dressing rooms and runs the dressing room.

‘I never have get involved in anything there, because Marlon and a few of the other boys marshal it so well.

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‘He’s got that changing room going. Everyone who’s spoken about that group is bang on, they’re a very close-knit group and they enjoy themselves while working incredibly hard. A lot of that is down to Marlon and the senior leadership.’

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