A player coming through the academy to assert themselves as a first-team member is one of the best storylines for fans, but for Ben Close, it almost didn’t happen.
Having been at the club for his entire career and finally given his break in the 2014/15 League Two as an 18-year-old, it was expected under then manager Paul Cook that Close would gradually go on to become a starting XI player, but it didn’t go according to plan.
Two more seasons of bit-part cameos and a loan-spell at Eastleigh had many fans thinking Close’s time at the club was over before it had even begun, but six days before Cook left the club for Wigan Athletic, the Pompey boss extended the midfielder’s deal with the club.
It proved to be one of the shrewdest pieces of business the club would do as the following season Close would go on to establish himself as a first-team player under new boss Kenny Jackett, who has recently handed the 22-year-old with a contract extension of his own.
With Portsmouth in a good position to claim an automatic promotion spot up to the Championship this season, it’s easy to say that Close’s future lies with the club if they can make the jump back to the English second-tier.
The midfielder has thrived under Jackett this season, having his best goal output for the club and only playing six fewer games compared to the 2017/18 campaign, and if the club are to be promoted, you can image Close will remain a part of the first-team where he can continue his impressive development.
Portsmouth fans, can Close guide Pompey to promotion? Let us know!
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