The 72

Free agent midfielder Gary O’Neil has asked about a possible return to former club Portsmouth, the Portsmouth News has reported.

Gary O’Neil made his breakthrough into senior football with Portsmouth, and has since gone on to play for the likes of Middlesbrough, West Ham, QPR, Norwich City, Bristol City and Bolton Wanderers.

Now a free agent, O’Neil, 36, is keen to find himself a new club as he wants to keep playing but he is also interested in venturing into coaching once his playing days come to an end. It has been revealed that O’Neil spoke to Portsmouth manager Kenny Jackett about a possible return to Fratton Park, only to be politely told he was not needed. He said:

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“I spoke to Kenny briefly about a number of things really, not just about myself, it was never “Will you take me back?”. It was to see what was going on and how they were doing.

“People have their own backroom staff, unless someone leaves they are never looking to recruit coaching staff. Kenny will have his team with him and that’s the way the game is, you always want people you know and have worked with before.

“Maybe there’s a chance I can come back and help out with the Academy, even just here and there with bits and pieces. I would love to give a little bit back if there’s an opportunity.

“Our chat was about loads of things, he was speaking to me about certain players I had played with, a football conversation really, not just about me coming back.

“Kenny is a good guy and we get on fairly well, so it wasn’t “Kenny, can I come back please?” and he said no. It was a football chat.”


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Writer for The72 and currently studying at the University of Lincoln. Based in Peterborough/ Lincoln and often writing about Peterborough United amongst other Championship and League One clubs.