Midfielder flattered with O’Neil comparisons

Wes Fogden. Picture: Joe Pepler
Wes Fogden. Picture: Joe Pepler

Wes Fogden admitted he’s happy to be Pompey’s new Gary O’Neil.

The attacking midfielder is delighted with the comparisons being made between him and the former Blues favourite.

Fogden’s outstanding form at the end of the season was one of the keys to the club’s drive to safety under Andy Awford.

The 26-year-old thrived in a trio operating behind Ryan Taylor, as Pompey found a crucial cutting edge.

Fogden’s industry and hard running quickly marked him out as a favourite with fans.

The displays were reminiscent of another hugely popular Blues player in the shape of O’Neil.

O’Neil remains a Fratton favourite after making it through the ranks at Pompey.

The Londoner gained player-of-the-year plaudits in 2006 and made 192 senior appearances after being given his debut by Tony Pulis in 1999.

As well as possessing similar physical traits to Fogden, O’Neil’s game was also all about welding quality on the ball with eating up the miles.

The former Hawks and Bournemouth man explained people have raised the similarities before.

And that, with the esteem O’Neil is held in, is something he’s happy to hear.

Fogden said: ‘I want to do that hard work. If everyone does that for each other out on the pitch we’ll pick up more points than we drop.

‘It’s the minimum you can do. People have said about it and I’ve heard the Gary O’Neil stuff a few times.

‘I’ve had my time at Havant & Waterlooville and then Bournemouth.

‘I’ve got a lot of friends who are Portsmouth fans, and they relate to me as Gary O’Neil.

‘I’ve heard little bits about him, and people have compared me a few times.

‘I guess if people liked him here I must be doing something right!’

Fogden scored two goals in 19 appearances at Pompey after arriving at the club in January from Dean Court.

His form marked him out as stand-out performer over the second half of the campaign.

That was echoed around the team as Pompey found a renewed vigour and unity under Awford.

Fogden believes it was that determination which was key to the side’s success.

He said: ‘You aren’t going to be unbelievable every game.

‘I always go into a game with the same attitude.

‘If give 100 per cent, no-one can really ask for more.

‘If you work hard for your team-mates and fans – those people out on the pitch will hopefully do the same.

‘That’s what happened at the end of the season – and we got the results.’

n Pompey missed out on a £1m windfall as Liverpool were beaten to the Premier League title yesterday.

The bonus – to be paid out if the Reds claimed the crown – had been built into the deal which took Glen Johnson to Anfield in 2009.