Date: 29th June 2007 at 9:48am
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Gary O’Neil has spoken to The News for the first time since the rumours about his future surfaced – insisting ‘I’m going nowhere’, in fact he would like to stay here for another 10 years.

‘I don’t know anything about it. It’s just a silly rumour, which has been blown up.

‘As all the Pompey fans know, I have been happy here for years and I see myself being here for the next 10 years yet.

‘Yakubu has been linked with us a few times and Middlesbrough are supposedly interested in me so people have put two and two together and got eight or nine.

‘I am sure if something serious was going on my agent would phone me.

‘But I’ve heard nothing, and I don’t expect to because I’m not interested.’

O’Neil is currently recovering from his ankle operation, but is on track to be ready for next season.

Harry Redknapp recently said that O’Neil was going nowhere, something that O’Neil himself has admitted he liked hearing and so long as both club and player remain happy he has no plans on going anywhere – as he is settled in the area with his wife, who recently gave birth to their first child.

I’ll never forget the day that I saw the scrawny chicken legged 16 year old come on for his debut at Fratton in 2000 – I think it was against Barnsley – to become our youngest ever player under Tony Pulis – or tiny, well you can imagine, as some of my fellow south west supporters club members used to comment, believing it regularly sounded more like this when ‘Tony Pulis’ blue and white army’ was sung.

O’Neil is one of the main components of our team, so my thinking remains the same as it has for a long time – it is crucial to our continued development that we keep hold of him.

He might not of had his greatest season in 2006/07 but he will be back – and back with a bang.

It is a preconception that if you play for Pompey you cannot play for England, but if O’Neil gets back to his very best form and shows this regularly he still has a very good chance of doing that even if he wears the blue of Pompey.

PLAY UP POMPEY!