Verdict: Gary O'Neil could have added something to Portsmouth
Gary O’Neil could have added something extra to Kenny Jackett’s squad.
That is the verdict of sports writer Jordan Cross, speaking in the latest episode of Pompey Talk.
O’Neil remains a free agent after spending last season at Bolton in the Championship.
The 36-year-old is still keen to continue his playing career, however, and told The News on Saturday that he spoke to Jackett earlier this campaign inquiring about possibilities of a Blues return.
The popular midfielder made 193 appearances and scored 17 times at Fratton Park before his departure for Middlesborough in August 2007.
O’Neil was told there are presently no Fratton Park openings, though, and is still searching for a new club.
Having been named the Trotters’ Player of the Season when relegated into League One, Cross feels the ex-West Ham and Norwich ace could still have done a job for Jackett’s side as they push for promotion.
And a return to PO4 for O’Neil in the future shouldn’t be ruled out.
Cross said: ‘Usually these sort of returns don't go well – think about the likes of Benjani or one or two others down the years.
‘The difference to that is Gary O’Neil really looks after himself.
‘He is in the Indian summer of his playing days but I think he’d have had something to offer still.
‘Maybe it’s a tad fanciful and I’m sure Kenny Jackett isn’t one for romance and ultimately would have thought he can get through without him.
‘If he wasn’t going to add to what he already had then it’d have been a no.
‘I thought Gary could offer something still. I don't know what the money situation would have been like, but he’d have just wanted to have played I’d have thought.
‘It wasn’t to be and you wouldn’t write off Gary O’Neil being back at Pompey in some form at some point.
‘I’d certainly love to see it and I’ve seen on Twitter it looks like AFC Portchester Ladies under-14s may get his assistance because he’s offered to help them out, which shows what a quality guy he is.’
Watch the rest of Pompey Talk on the video above.