The man who made Brighton's Adam Webster believe in himself after nobody told him he was 'very good' at Portsmouth

Adam Webster. Picture: Joe PeplerAdam Webster. Picture: Joe Pepler
Adam Webster. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Adam Webster has thanked Paul Cook for making him believe in his ability after no-one told him he was 'very good' at Pompey.

The centre-half has enjoyed a meteoric rise since departing Fratton Park for Ipswich in 2016.

Webster's now plying his trade at Premier League outfit Brighton via Bristol City and has been tipped to feature for England in the near future.

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And the Blues academy graduate credited Cook for turning around his career.

Webster admitted struggling at Fratton Park during the 2014-15 season under Andy Awford before the Liverpudlian took charge.

But Cook consistently told the West Withering-born defender of his quality, which helped him progress.

Webster told The Athletic: ‘Before my last year at Portsmouth, before Paul Cook took over, I struggled. I wasn’t playing every week, nobody was telling me I’m very good. It was hard.

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‘Then, when I got in the team, he (Cook) was telling me how good I am, how good I can be.

‘He always said you need to have faith in your ability, because you’ve got everything to go to the top.

‘That has always stuck with me. Then, even after that, Ipswich bought me and I’ve gone from League Two to the Championship and I thought: “Should I be with these boys? Do I really deserve it?”

‘That stayed with me for a bit when I first went there. Some people don’t care and they think they are better than everyone, whereas I’m not really like that.

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‘I’ve had to get better with that the more I’ve gone on. I’ve not struggled with that since then, but every now and then you have to remind yourself that you deserve to be in the Premier League and just to keep that in your mind, not go back to old ways like I was before, when I was about 18, 19.’

When Cook arrived at Pompey, he felt Webster wasn’t quite meeting the physical demands of League Two.

But the ex-Wigan boss always knew that side of the centre-back’s game would develop and eventually dovetail with his cultured ability on the ball.

Cook said: ‘He was just a typical young lad who was finding his way in the game — what the best position is, what they are going to be in the future.

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‘More importantly sometimes, he was probably struggling to adapt to a man’s football world, especially if you are a young lad coming through in Leagues Two and One.

‘It’s a little bit more of a different side to football. Adam struggled sometimes with the physicality of strikers, but it was always a case of when Adam developed properly and matured properly, he was going to be an unbelievably good footballer.

‘He was like a Rolls-Royce in those days, the way he carried the ball. And Adam was up there with the best of them in terms of a lad off the pitch.

‘He wanted to work, did his gym work, was always going to develop physically. Athletically he was good and he could play, which normally means you end up in the Premier League. It’s great to see him going on.’

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