Patience is a virtue for Ronan Curtis as he waits to be handed his maiden Republic of Ireland senior cap.
After being promoted to Martin O’Neill's set up from the under-21s, Curtis was not included in Ireland’s 23-man squad for their 1-0 Nations League defeat to Wales.
The charismatic frontman would have been disappointed to watch his country’s loss from the Aviva Stadium stands.
With O’Neill's side chasing an equaliser, he may have been an ideal candidate to throw on given his attacking exploits for Kenny Jackett’s side this season.
And, from a selfish point of view, it means Pompey’s talisman returns to his club fresher than first anticipated.
On duty with Noel King’s under-21 side, Curtis was set to play two games.
He featured for 90 minutes in Ireland's 3-1 loss to Israel, ending their chances of qualifying for next year’s European Championships.
Curtis would also likely have started against Germany on Tuesday if he was available.
If that was the case, it would have been the 22-year-old’s fifth match in 18 days.
Certainly, Curtis has the engine, application and mentality to cope with such demands in the short term.
But given he had significantly less time off than his Fratton Park team-mates over the summer after arriving from the League of Ireland, it may have taken its toll later in the campaign.
Granted, it’s only one game fewer than he was earmarked for and Curtis has been training just as, if not more intensely, with O’Neill’s side.
But nothing compares to match action and the respite should do him the world of good.
The south London-born talent has been a revelation since moving to Fratton Park from Derry City.
He’s surpassed expectations, registering six goals and five assists in Jackett’s side’s early League One title charge.
Curtis arrives back from international duty ahead of two key games – arguably must-win if Pompey are to maintain their trajectory towards the Championship.
The Blues are without a success in three matches at PO4.
But back-to-back victories over Fleetwood and Burton would help put paid to any doubts that home form could scupper the chance of automatic promotion.
Curtis will likely reclaim the left-wing berth he’s made his own when Joey Barton’s side travel to the south coast on Saturday.
And both the winger and Pompey should reap the benefits of him playing one game fewer than what was originally scheduled for.