'Sometimes you must cut people free for their own good’ - Danny Cowley explains youth prospect's Portsmouth exit

Danny Cowley surveyed Alfie Stanley’s Pompey departure and explained: You have to cut people free for their own good.

Danny Cowley has explained why Alfie Stanley has left Portsmouth. Picture: Dennis Goodwin/ProSportsImages
Danny Cowley has explained why Alfie Stanley has left Portsmouth. Picture: Dennis Goodwin/ProSportsImages

The 19-year-old striker was offered fresh Blues terms at the season’s end.

However, Stanley was later informed the club had moved on – with the 12-month contract no longer on the table.

Cowley had hoped to find a loan club to aid the North End youngster’s development in the absence of an under-23s side.

Yet the Blues head coach was unable to identify such a destination, thereby impacting upon the offer.

Cowley told The News: ‘Decisions needed to be made about these young players literally on our arrival – and we just weren’t willing to make those decisions.

‘I wouldn’t want anyone to make a decision over my future when they’d only watched me for such a small amount of time.

‘I watched Alfie for one game against Millwall, when he did well, and in training when he always brought a real energy and enthusiasm.

‘He needs to play, he wants to play. We had an initial conversation and said “Let’s come together at the end of the season, we are going to spend the next four weeks trying to find a really good loan pathway for you”.

‘If I can do that, I can see the next stepping stone for his progress. Unfortunately we couldn’t find that for Alf.

‘We then had a really clear conversation with him.

‘We had offered Alfie a contract. When you offer a contract, there’s a 30-day period in which that player has to reject or accept it.

‘Young players improve through outstanding coaching and a really relevant challenging games programme. You get that programme when you provide both.

‘But sometimes you must cut people free, for their good and for everybody’s benefit.

‘We had opened communication with Alfie and that was decided.’

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The News understands Stanley was offered a pay rise of £4-a-week to remain at Pompey for another 12 months.

The youngster’s representatives were willing to negotiate, with the teenager keen to remain at Fratton Park.

However, the Blues instead opted to head in another direction, although have waived rights to training compensation.

It ensures Stanley is free to join a club without payment required to be made to Pompey.

Cowley added: ‘We signed Liam Vincent because he is physically ready to play senior football, so we can get a pathway for him easily.

‘We really like Seok (Jae Lee), we really like Alfie, there’s Harry Kavanagh as well, but they need an under-23s programme, they need another couple of years.

‘We haven’t got that – not yet.’

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