Premier League, Championship and potentially England - Matt Tubbs on his glittering ex-Portsmouth team-mates reaching for the stars

It was the campaign which would yield the lowest league placing in Pompey history.

Friday, 28th May 2021, 4:55 am
Updated Friday, 28th May 2021, 1:24 pm
Adam Webster (right) and Christian Burgess mob Matt Tubbs (unsighted) after scoring at Cambridge United in October 2015. Picture: Joe Pepler

Yet Matt Tubbs still marvels at the young Fratton Park talent which emerged through that entirely forgettable 2014-15 season in League Two.

The striker joined halfway through, arriving in January 2015 on a free transfer from Bournemouth.

However, he would number Adam Webster, Jed Wallace, Conor Chaplin Dan Butler, Ben Close and Jack Whatmough among his team-mates.

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And he’s still watching with admiration the progress and development of that talented crop of youngsters.

Tubbs told The News: ‘Those young players have gone on to achieve amazing things already – and the world’s their oyster in a sense of what they can achieve.

‘That crop of players just wanted to play football and had the joy and passion to go with it. They were such a good group and I love watching their progress.

Matt Tubbs in his final Pompey appearance in October 2015, against Notts County. Picture: Joe Pepler

‘Webster could potentially be knocking on the England door in the next couple of years, Conor may move into the Premier League, Dan Butler will next season try to establish himself in the Championship, while Jed could also make that next step up.

‘There were 10 years difference between myself and Conor and I wanted to stay on after training and help the younger players. Conor was perfect for that.

‘He’s a great example of someone who wants to listen and wants to learn. All he wanted to do was get a bag of balls at the end of a session and score goals.

‘Conor’s kicked on massively and that isn’t anything to do with me coaching him, that’s him wanting to learn and wanting to listen.

Matt Tubbs' 14th - and final - Pompey goal arrived in a 1-0 win at Newport County in October 2015. Picture: Joe Pepler

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‘He has done all the hard graft to get where he is, it’s not a few sessions with me, but it’s him having the desire to be the best he can. He’s another that could potentially kick on, he is more than capable of it.

‘Jed (Wallace) has also done really well. He always had that something extra about him, really chirpy with the physique of a professional footballer, even at that age.

‘It was always a matter of when he’d move on. He’s doing bigger and better things now, I had no doubt he would.’

Jed Wallace was one of the many talented home-grown youngsters Matt Tubbs played alongside at Pompey. Picture: Joe Pepler

Meanwhile, the future is uncertain for Whatmough and Close, with their Pompey careers potentially over.

Having not accepted new Fratton Park contracts with reduced terms, it remains to be seen where their pathway now leads.

Tubbs added: ‘Ben’s the sort of player that goes under the radar. He’s not flamboyant, he will just sit in front of the back four, mopping it up and breaking up play, before giving it easy.

‘Having someone like that in your team is absolutely vital. He won’t set the world alight by doing three step overs and a nutmeg, he’ll just get it and give it.

‘Some fans will think he’s not doing much, but he brings a whole new level to the team and creates an attacking environment. He’s actually doing a hell of a lot.

‘With Jack, if it wasn’t for the three knee operations he’s had, he’d be another pushing onto the Championship.’

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