Portsmouth born and Portsmouth bred - now Northern Ireland under-21 international and Crystal Palace starlet is heading for Fratton Park homecoming

He’s a Northern Ireland under-21 international with Crystal Palace - yet incoming signing Ollie Webber is actually a Pompey boy.

Tuesday, 25th January 2022, 1:37 pm

Webber will serve as back-up to Gavin Bazunu, following Alex Bass’ loan exit to Bradford on Monday.

For the promising keeper, the switch ironically represents a return to the city where he was born in June 2000.

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Webber left at the age of eight with his mum, Emma, to live in Comber, in her native Northern Ireland.

From that point his football development flourished, featuring for Ards Rangers, Glentoran and Northern Ireland schools.

Having been spotted by Palace while on international duty, he was subsequently invited to Selhurst Park for a trial and impressed.

The highly-regarded keeper signed a two-year scholarship in July 2016, before turning professional in 2018 at the age of 17.

Incoming Pompey goalkeeper Ollie Webber knows plenty about the city - he was born here. Picture: Nick Taylor/Liverpool FC/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

He told Belfast Live in March 2017: ‘I was born in Portsmouth, and when I was eight years old I moved to Comber in Northern Ireland with my mum Emma.

‘She is originally from Newtownards so I have a lot of family in Northern Ireland. I lived in Northern Ireland until moving to Palace last summer.’

Webber has progressed to become a regular for the Eagles’ under-23 side, although has yet to feature for the first-team.

He was also not involved in their under-21 squad for the Papa John’s Trophy encounter at Fratton Park against Pompey in November.

Instead, Owen Goodman was named in the Palace team for the 3-0 defeat, with Jackson Izquierdo on the bench.

Webber, though, has made first-team appearances for Dover Athletic, after joining the National League side on loan in January 2021.

He featured three times for The Whites, whose season effectively ended on January 30 when they could no longer fulfil fixtures due to the furloughing of staff during Covid.

Webber last featured for Northern Ireland’s under-21s in Euro 2021 qualifiers against Lithuania and Malta in November.

Now he’s on his way to the south coast – no doubt familiar surroundings for the Portsmouth-born stopper.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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