Date: 22nd July 2017 at 9:06am
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Pompey will make a definite step up in quality when Bournemouth visit Fratton Park for the latest pre-season friendly this afternoon, which will also see Asmir Begovic return.

Begovic, sold to Stoke in January 2010, via an aborted switch to Tottenham, setting Pompey back £1m in compensation, should be part of the Bournemouth side following a £10m transfer from Chelsea.

He might have made only 17 appearances at Fratton, during a six and a half year spell, but it was always clear what a talented goalkeeper Begovic was – had it not been for David James he would have played much more.

Without the part Pompey played in his early years, I’m sure goalkeeping coach David Coles was instrumental in his development, Begovic, 30, might not have gone on to become the keeper he is, which he’s appreciative of.

He also told the Bournemouth Echo he’s excited about an overdue return and how he ‘didn’t particularly want to leave’ when he did but there wasn’t an option.

‘Fratton Park always brings good experiences, I had a really good time at Portsmouth for six-and-a-half years. They gave me the chance to play in the Premier League and they believed in me for all those years, being able to go through the process of becoming a professional and getting to the level I am today.’

Adding: ‘It will be nice to go back as I haven’t been there in a while. There have been a lot of changes at that club over the years but, overall, I’m excited to go back. It was a difficult time (when there). There was a lot of uncertainty for people. They were pushing some younger players through and that gave me the chance to play in the Premier League, which was great. I didn’t particularly want to leave the club at that time, but the financial situation at the club dictated that and I was sold along with a few other players and it was time to move on.’

There’s no need to look back at what happened around that era. Yes, it is a time we should never forget, we’ll never be able to, but Pompey continue to look forward and the shot-stopper feels with the right people in charge the Blues can move forward and return to the Championship.

Begovic said: ‘I had a really good time there and it’s a shame things didn’t work out for the club the way they should have, because they deserve to be at a higher level than they are. Hopefully, with the right people in charge and the right infrastructure in place, they can really push through the leagues and compete at the highest level.’

Concluding: ‘I don’t see why they can’t get promoted to the Championship this year. I’m sure they will be at a higher level in time, they have an amazing fan base. It’s amazing the amount of people they get at games no matter what division they are playing in. I wish them all the best.’

Begovic definitely couldn’t have said much better to ensure he would receive a great reception at Fratton, which he would have anyway, as he was a brilliant keeper in the brief time we saw him at the Park anyway.

James and the ‘circumstance’ at the time is all that prevented Begovic from playing hundreds of games for Pompey and I will continue, as I always have, to follow Bego’s career.

PLAY UP POMPEY

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