Portsmouth's blossoming Ben Close catching the eye of Championship admirers

Ben Close celebrates scoring his ninth goal of the season in last month's 1-1 draw with Accrington. Picture: Joe Pepler
Ben Close celebrates scoring his ninth goal of the season in last month's 1-1 draw with Accrington. Picture: Joe Pepler
Share this article
0
Have your say

Ben Close’s flourishing Pompey career is attracting admiring glances from Championship clubs.

But his agent, Brian Howard, has emphatically reassured the Fratton faithful the midfielder’s future remains at Fratton Park.

The home-grown talent blossomed during the second half of last season’s promotion challenge.

Close re-established himself in Kenny Jackett’s first team, netting eight goals in his past 20 appearances to announce his arrival as a goal-scoring midfielder.

The 22-year-old Blues fan was rewarded with a fresh deal in April, keeping him at his beloved Fratton Park until the summer of 2021.

And Howard has revealed clubs from the Championship are monitoring his development with interest.

Ben Close with agent Brian Howard after signing his latest Pompey contract in April

Ben Close with agent Brian Howard after signing his latest Pompey contract in April

SEE ALSO: Nathan Thompson's Portsmouth arrival delivered an important statement - Brian Howard

Close’s long-time agent said: ‘Ben is a player that people are now sitting up and taking notice of.

'In my opinion, he is a Championship footballer, without a doubt.

‘He has recently committed himself to the club, which we feel is the best place for him, as a Pompey fan who lives locally and wants to buy his first property locally.

‘You learn a lot under Kenny and the team there, it’s a great club for a young player to be at, so the career path is just that. Let’s get Pompey into the Championship and above and go from there.

‘Considering what he has done over the last year, the world’s his oyster – and he has to take it to the next level.

‘He’s had a good six months and now needs to do it for a full season, fulfil his potential.

‘For three months heading into the next season, you start chatting to all clubs about players they think they may be keeping and players they could be losing.

‘You get a head start because you don’t want to be caught short in the summer – and they ask you to send over your client list, so when they start looking for players they know who to call.

‘Clubs have said Ben Close is a player they like, but he’s a Pompey player – and we are not trying to do anything to change that, I want to stress that.

‘It’s just nice to hear him starting to get mentioned in the same breath as maybe other people doing well at the club.’

Close has accrued 118 appearances and scored 11 times since making his debut in September 2014.

And Howard has been his representative since the former Priory School pupil was aged 18.

The ex-Pompey skipper added: ‘I love going to Fratton and watching Ben play, I really enjoy watching him as a fan, I enjoy the way he gets on the ball, he is really nice technical footballer who has added goals to his game.

‘He’s a pleasure to look after, I think I’m lucky to say I am his agent.

‘I’ve watched him grow as a player and a person – and I’m watching him mature from a prospect into a first-team regular.’