Campbell wants to stay at Pompey

Portsmouth captain Sol Campbell has ended any doubts over his future at Fratton Park and insists he wants to lead the team into Europe after their FA Cup final triumph.

The former Tottenham, Arsenal and England defender, who will turn 34 on the day Pompey begin their UEFA Cup campaign next season – September 18 – has a year left on his contract but speculation has been rife in the last few weeks that he would on the way out this summer.

He was strongly linked with Spanish club Villarreal, who finished runners-up to Real Madrid in La Liga and will play Champions League football again next season.

And Pompey have been scouting a string of central defenders abroad as possible replacements for Campbell.

But he is the excited at the prospect of European football next season with Pompey and insists he wants to help the club improve.

He said: “I hope it can be even better next year. We have Europe to play in and we must try to keep improving.

“I am happy here and see no reason to leave. The fans are superb.

“I have thought about playing abroad but if that was going to happen it would have been a couple of years ago. I honestly will have no regrets if I end my career without do that.

“Wembley was a really emotional occasion on Saturday. It meant so much to everybody associated with the club and I really felt it personally.”

Portsmouth will know their immediate fate in their debut European campaign when the draw for the first round of the UEFA Cup is made in Monaco on August 29.

It will feature at least 80 teams, some of whom will have survived two qualifying rounds plus play-offs in the Intertoto Cup – with Aston Villa are hoping to gain entry that way.

Other English contenders will be Tottenham, the Carling Cup winners, Everton, who finished fifth in the Barclays Premier League and Manchester City, who qualified via the fair play league.

First they have to get through a first-round knockout tie – played over two legs with the second game on Thursday, October 2 – to reach the first group stage.

Possible opponents include AC Milan, Sampdoria, Valencia, Borussia Dortmund, Benfica, Paris St Germain and Feyenoord – to name but a few.

Portsmouth have still not released details of their planned pre-season trip to Nigeria where they are set to play Premier League champions Manchester United in a dress rehearsal for their FA Community Shield clash at Wembley on August 10 - six days ahead of the new domestic season.

The club are believed to be waiting for permission from the Premier League to confirm the African visit.

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