Thriving in life after Portsmouth as ex-Spurs keeper bids for quick League One return with Forest Green

In his hurry to escape Fratton Park, Luke McGee declined to extend his deal to cover the League One play-offs.

By Neil Allen
Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 11:25 am
Ex-Pompey keeper Luke McGee has rebuilt his career at Forest Green Rovers - and now has the chance of a swift League One return. Picture: Joe Pepler
Ex-Pompey keeper Luke McGee has rebuilt his career at Forest Green Rovers - and now has the chance of a swift League One return. Picture: Joe Pepler

The remaining eight out-of-contract players readily agreed, some even turned out against Oxford United in the semi-final disappointment.

Not McGee, though, whose thirst for first-team football ensured he was first out of the door seeking an opportunity to kick-start a stalled career.

Now, 11 months later, he’s in a Forest Green Rovers side challenging for promotion to League One for the first time in their history.

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Despite his Spurs background, there was never an ego about the goalkeeper when deciding his football destination.

McGee arrived at the Blues from White Hart Lane for an undisclosed fee in July 2017, filling the gap left by David Forde’s return to Millwall following his impressive loan stay.

The previous season there was a loan spell at Peterborough, yielding 45 appearances, then Kenny Jackett swooped to recruit him on a permanent deal for Pompey.

Of his 55 appearances over the next three years, 50 of them would arrive in the opening 12 months. Nobody played more than him in 2017-18.

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Desperate for first-team football, McGee was denied the chance to join Cheltenham, before linking up at Bradford on loan in January 2020.

That summer he arrived at Forest Green as a free agent, once more demonstrating it was about football rather than location which appealed.

The 25-year-old has been rewarded with a League Two play-off semi-final against Newport County, with the first leg kicking off on Tuesday (May 18).

McGee has reached 35 appearances for Rovers this term and is expected to remain first-choice during their play-off campaign.

There have been moments out of the first-team, namely at the turn of the year when injury kept him out for two matches.

Upon his return, he occupied the bench for 11 of the next 13 games as young Welshman Lewis Thomas kept his place.

However, McGee reclaimed his place in April, remaining in goal for the last eight fixtures as Rovers secured sixth spot to qualify for the play-offs.

Clearly he has the backing of interim head coach Jimmy Ball, the son of two-time Pompey manager Alan, who has been promoted from under-18 coaching duties.

It’s the play-offs which now occupy McGee’s sights as he targets an instant return to League One following that hurried June 2020 Pompey departure.

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