Ball-playing defender Adam Webster can be a hit at Ipswich Town, says Ray Crawford

Adam Webster - Picture: Joe Pepler

Adam Webster - Picture: Joe Pepler - Credit: Bluepitch Media / Joe Pepler

Ipswich Town are preparing to tweak their approach in the Championship next season, with the signing of cultured Portsmouth centre-back Adam Webster.

The 21-year-old is set to move to Portman Road in a player-plus deal next week which will see Town pay out more than £500,000 to Pompey and see Blues youngster Matt Clarke – who spent this season on-loan at Fratton Park – move in the opposite direction.

Webster starred in the FA Cup clash between the teams at Portman Road in January and was the subject of a bid from Town boss Mick McCarthy – but a deal never materialised.

Town have struggled creatively in recent seasons and have regularly fallen short offensively, but the swoop for Webster, who is considered to be one of the best ball-playing defenders in League Two, is a sign McCarthy wants to change his side’s style.

Legendary Town striker Ray Crawford, a regular viewer of Pompey, said: “He is a good ball-player and I am sure Mick McCarthy will add to his game defensively, more so than (Portsmouth manager) Paul Cook, because that was his position as a player.

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“He is a talented player, two-footed, deceptively quick and a good prospect.

“If anything, he needs to toughen up a bit. He is not a rough centre-half, but he gets to the ball early and is good in the air and from a positional point-of-view.”

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Ironically, Clarke, and fellow centre-back, Christian Burgess, kept Webster out of the Pompey side at the start of the season, but the England Under-19 international eventually played an integral role as the south coast side reached the play-offs.

“Paul Cook came in as manager, did not know about the boy, and Adam did not have a contract,” explained Crawford.

“It looked like he was going to leave but he was convinced to stay and it has all come together for him.”

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