Former Leeds United defender opens up on 'dream' after helping Portsmouth seal promotion to Championship

Former Leeds United defender Conor Shaughnessy has opened up after helping Portsmouth seal promotion to the Championship.

The former Republic of Ireland youth international made 15 appearances for Leeds before he was allowed to depart permanently in 2021. After spells with Rochdale and Burton Albion, he joined Portsmouth last summer.

He has been a key figure for Pompey this season and scored a dramatic late winner in their recent 3-2 win over Barnsley, a result that secured Portsmouth’s promotion from League One.

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As reported by The News, Shaughnessy said: “This is what you dream of as a footballer. This is what you dream of as a kid growing up - these are the nights we’ve worked hard for.

Conor Shaughnessy left Leeds United in 2021. Image: Tony JohnsonConor Shaughnessy left Leeds United in 2021. Image: Tony Johnson
Conor Shaughnessy left Leeds United in 2021. Image: Tony Johnson

“To have the opportunity to win the league at Fratton Park with two games to go and then seal it with the winner in the last few minutes, it’s something that will stay with me forever.

“Marlon (Pack) said to me: ‘you’re a legend now’. I can’t get my head around it, it will take a few days to sink in. I’ve been saying for a few weeks I want one more goal, because it’s been a while now. There’s no better time or place to get it. We’ll enjoy tonight now and tomorrow - and the day after that. Let’s celebrate as a city and enjoy ourselves now.”

Shaughnessy initially cut his teeth within Reading’s youth system before linking up with Leeds in 2016. Shaughnessy featured fairly regularly when fit during the 2017/18 campaign but found himself out of favour following the arrival of Marcelo Bielsa.

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If he remains at Fratton Park for next season and Leeds fail to clinch a return to the Premier League, he could be facing his former employers.

He said: “I’ve never seen anything like it. You can see what it means to the people of Portsmouth. That’s what we wanted at the start of the season. It’s been a long time coming but we’ve been the best team all season long.

“We’ve stayed at the top for over 200 days. It’s something we deserve as a group, we have the best manager in the league and the best group of players put together by Rich Hughes [Portsmouth’s sporting director] and the gaffer. Massive credit to them because it’s an unbelievable group and we’ve got what we deserved.”

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