Portsmouth new boy Paul Downing marvelling at his new surroundings after leaving Blackburn

Pompey defender Paul Downing'Picture: Arnold Byrne
Pompey defender Paul Downing'Picture: Arnold Byrne
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The sights and smells of the Solent may be something Portsmouth folk take for granted.

But Pompey new boy Paul Downing is marvelling at its natural beauty after his arrival at Fratton Park.

The man who grew up in the midlands is firmly embracing the seaside since leaving Blackburn this summer.

PO4 is the latest stop-off for the 27-year-old in a career which has seen him go from West Brom to Walsall, MK Dons and Ewood Park, as well as loan stays at Hereford, Rotherham, Shrewsbury, Barnet and last season Doncaster.

None of those clubs have brought Downing into contact with the coastline, however, like his new home and even his club's pre-season base in Ireland this week.

Downing said: ‘I’ve never seen the sea so much since I signed two weeks ago, now I see it every day in Portsmouth and then coming here right by the coast (Portmarnock, Dublin).

‘I can’t complain, though, it’s a lovely part of the world.

‘I was born in Somerset and lived there for five years and then my family moved back up to Birmingham, from Droitwich.

‘I’m from the Midlands, so never see the sea, unless you go to Weston-Super-Mare, I’ve been there on a few days out there.

‘I’ve been lucky in my career to move around a bit and see different parts of the country, it’s something I have always embraced.'

Downing now faces the familiar experience of settling into new confines at Pompey.

He's confident he'll be able to do just that, with the prospect of laying down roots after signing a three-year deal.

He added: ‘Being from the Midlands, you are never miles away, always a couple of hours from anywhere. So if i want to go back there on a day off I can do that and visit the family and friends.

‘I am in a hotel at the minute and in the process of finding a place to live. I want to move in quickly, but find the right place.

‘I have a girlfriend and she is down with me.'