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CLOSE: WHAT AN HONOUR

9 November 2016

Midfielder delighted to skipper Pompey

It did not come as a surprise to see Paul Cook ring the changes for Pompey’s latest Checkatrade Trophy fixture.

But some may have been taken aback to see Ben Close handed the captain’s armband against Bristol Rovers.

He also had that honour when a youthful side made the trip to Exeter in last season’s competition.

The 20-year-old was surrounded by senior professionals on this occasion, however, and led his side to a 1-0 victory.

Close said: “It’s difficult to put into words what it means – especially at my age.

“I can only thank the gaffer for putting his trust in me to wear the armband. It’s the second time now and it felt as good as it did on the first occasion.

“The team we had out included a lot of experienced players, so I was surprised when I heard and it’s a moment I won’t forget.

“I was delighted when he told me and to end up winning the game as well makes it that much better.”

Pompey’s victory came courtesy of a fine long-range effort from Kal Naismith in the final few minutes.

Close said: “We knew that we needed a result at Fratton Park, so it was a good showing from us to beat a League One side.

“We’ve seen Kal do things like that before and he’s got a lovely left foot. I wasn’t surprised to see it go in.

“The aim was to take the game to Bristol Rovers and most of the match was played in their half, so I thought we deserved the win.”

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