REVEALED: Why Portsmouth boss took the decision to release defender

Danny Cowley has revealed why Pompey decided to part company with Callum Johnson.

By Jordan Cross
Sunday, 22nd May 2022, 4:55 am
Updated Sunday, 22nd May 2022, 8:06 am

The Blues yesterday confirmed they are releasing the defender this summer, as they published their retained list.

The 25-year-old picked up his admirers after arriving from Accrington Stanley in 2020, but found himself increasingly out of favour after Cowley succeeded Kenny Jackett last March.

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That eventually meant he was told he could go after picking up 48 appearances in a royal blue shirt.

Cowley explained releasing Johnson wasn’t a personal decision after a season in which he picked up 41 outings, as Fleetwood avoided relegation to League Two on the final day.

He said: ‘I spoke to Callum last week to tell him we won’t be taking up his option. We wish him well.

‘He had a solid season at Fleetwood.

Callum Johnson has been on loan at Fleetwood this season. Photo by Sam Fielding / PRiME Photos.

‘The club had a difficult time, but he played regularly.

‘With Callum, there’s no doubt that he’s a solid League One player.

‘We just wish him well moving forward.’

Cowley detailed the thinking behind not offering Johnson a new deal, despite having an option on his contract in the club’s favour.

The Londoner believes the right-back’s attributes don’t chime with the way Pompey want to play.

Cowley places an emphasis on his full-backs to get into advanced positions where possible.

He felt Johnson doesn’t possess the natural attacking attributes he looks for in that position.

That led to him joining Shaun Williams, Paul Downing and Ollie Webber in leaving PO4 this summer.

Despite coming to that decision, Cowley believes there will be a rival manager picking up a useful addition as an out-of-contract player this summer.

Cowley added: ‘Maybe Callum’s profile just didn’t quite suit our game idea.

‘He didn’t quite suit what we look for in that position.

‘His attributes are just a bit different for what we look for.

‘There’s no doubt in my mind, however, that he’s a good League One player.

‘He is going to be a really good signing for somebody else this summer.’