Why new boy Naylor turned down Championship for Pompey

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TOM NAYLOR has told how the appeal of re-establishing Pompey as an English football force was too strong to ignore.

The versatile midfielder has agreed a three-year deal at Fratton Park and will arrive after leaving relegated Championship side Burton.

Kenny Jackett, left, welcomes Tom Naylor to Fratton Park Picture: Portsmouth FC

Kenny Jackett, left, welcomes Tom Naylor to Fratton Park Picture: Portsmouth FC

The 26-year-old is the experienced and combative presence in the middle of the park Kenny Jackett has been looking for.

Naylor revealed he turned down interest from Sunderland, as well as Championship sides, to agree a move to the south coast.

But the pull of Pompey and taking the club forward was the only move the highly-rated talent was interested in.

Naylor said: ‘I can’t wait to get started.

‘I had a few clubs in the Championship interested, but it didn’t feel like I was going to progress there.

‘I’m a footballer, though, and I want to play football. I wasn’t sure if I was going to play the amount of games I wanted.

‘But League One doesn’t bother me at all. It’s a hard league and Portsmouth are the biggest club in the league.

‘When Portsmouth come calling you don’t say no.

‘Portsmouth should be at least Championship level or the Premier League.

‘It’s step by step, though, and the next step is to get the club back into the Championship.

‘That’s why I wanted to sign a long contract.

‘It means I can come here and get the club back to where it belongs. I want to be a part of that success.

‘There was speculation about my future. I think there was a bit of interest from them (Sunderland) and they spoke to my agent, but there was nothing concrete.

‘When Portsmouth came up I wanted to talk straight away, though.

‘I had a few options.

‘I’d made my mind up I wanted to leave Burton and take on a new challenge.

‘I wanted to go out there and get something new under my belt and this club, and this opportunity, was the one I wanted to take on.’

Naylor explained Pompey’s support was also a big selling point in making the move to PO4.

His previous experience of playing at Fratton Park in 2013 left a lasting impression.

Naylor added: ‘Now it’s done and dusted I’m looking forward to coming down, settling in and meeting the boys. It should be a good season.

‘I’ve played at Fratton Park once before and it’s a ground with fans you don’t forget.

‘It’s going to be a good experience having them on my side.

‘When I knew Portsmouth were interested in me the first thing I thought about was the fans. I know how passionate they are down there.

‘It’s a big club with everyone in the area supporting their team. That’s a massive bonus to have. There’s Southampton and Bournemouth down there but everyone in Portsmouth is a Portsmouth fan.

‘That was an attraction to come here.’