Pompey have had to snub England interest in Adam Webster.
The home-grown product had been on standby for Noel Blake’s under-19 team’s matches against Estonia and the Faroe Islands last week.
On the eve of the trip to Notts County, Michael Appleton was contacted by former Pompey defender Blake over his desire to give Webster a full call-up.
It would have been the 17-year-old’s first-ever involvement in the international set-up.
But with Appleton’s paper-thin squad then numbering below 20, the Blues boss had to decline.
Since then, Webster started Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Scunthorpe, playing at right-back.
He is also set to keep his spot for tonight’s trip to out-of-sorts Yeovil.
And Appleton admitted it was a tough call to deny the youngster from West Wittering a potential England debut.
He said: ‘I spoke to Noel Blake on the Friday night before the Notts County game.
‘Adam was on standby for the England under-19s and they wanted to call him up.
‘I explained to Noel that I didn’t think I could do it with the position we are in in terms of numbers.
‘Although, I asked him not to hold it against me and not to hold it against the player.
‘He rang me back and said “the boy is well in our plans, don’t worry about that” and I relayed that back to Adam, who still had that spring in his step.
‘It’s unfortunate but there was not a lot I could do.
‘But, in terms of Pompey, I just thought Saturday was the right time to put him in and I thought he applied himself really, really well.’