Mark Kelly has called on Jordan Brooks to use his international adventures as a spur for Pompey Academy progression.
Talented teenager Brooks is at the centre of a tug of war between Jamaica and Canada – the respective nationalities of his mother and father.
And having represented both countries at youth level this season, Academy boss Kelly is now keen to see the 16-year-old reap the benefits of his experiences in his day-to-day work at the Blues’ training ground.
‘Jordan has mixed parentage and it gives him the opportunity to opt for Canada or Jamaica, which is nice,’ said Kelly.
‘The two trips he has been on have been really good and his last one with Canada I know he really enjoyed.
‘It is certainly a good exercise and learning curve for him to see what football is like somewhere else – it is all part of an education.
‘But with Jordan being a first-year scholar at the moment – they are little sidelines for him.
‘His real attention now has to be focused on getting his feet back under the table and getting some work done back here as well.
‘International call-ups are great to have but the day in, day out stuff is what he has to get his head around now.
‘It is important his daily work doesn’t suffer as a result – I am sure it won’t.
‘He is quite level headed and he understands the process – it is all just a good experience for him.’
Midfielder Brooks will be part of Kelly and under-18s coach Mikey Harris’ selection plans as the Blues return to Youth Alliance League action with the visit of Cheltenham Town to Furze Lane on Saturday (11.30am).
For Kelly it is a chance for the youth team to right some of the wrongs of their last performance – a puzzlingly abject 6-1 defeat at Oxford United last month.
He added: ‘There was a lot said after the Oxford game and obviously we had the game against Norwich in the Premier League Cup (0-0) where most of the second-year scholars got to put it right.
‘But for the first-year scholars this is their first game back and we expect some production out of them – some high levels, some good tempo and some quality.
‘They know this is the next stage for them to jump up to and as a group they have to get back on it.
‘Those who played at Norwich got a pat on the back because they worked hard – but now we are all back together as a group, we need to amalgamate and put a poor display behind us.
‘The boys are looking forward to it, though, they have been working hard so we will see how they go.’
– JEFF MARSHMAN