Paul Cook insists he is ‘happy’ with the pace of Conor Chaplin’s Pompey progress.
And he has backed the youngster’s admirable attitude to help maintain his encouraging development.
It’s easy to be a good player. There are plenty of good players in England coming out of Academies who have the wrong character and they will find a place for themselves one dayPaul Cook
Chaplin has started the Blues’ last four League Two matches, scoring twice.
He also had a classy strike at Leyton Orient last weekend ruled out by a debatable offside flag.
There had long been calls among supporters to hand the 19-year-old striker a more regular starting presence.
Now Chaplin has been presented with a chance – and Pompey’s boss is delighted with his momentum.
Cook said: ‘I can be quite tough with players, but don’t feel the need to be like that with Conor.
‘I am watching over him like a big brother, though, if I don’t think they are doing certain stuff well enough they will soon be told.
‘I am happy with the way his career is progressing in terms of what he is doing to be a footballer.
‘Everything about him is how hard does he train, is he in the gym, is he doing other stuff to make myself better at his job, is he giving himself the best chance on a Saturday to be a good player? He is.
‘Conor will score goals in anyone’s team at any level of football, he will find space in any box with any people in it.
‘He’s an outstanding young man and an example of how you conduct yourself – Adam Webster was the same.
‘It’s easy to be a good player. There are plenty of good players in England coming out of Academies who have the wrong character and they will find a place for themselves one day.
‘Conor has probably had to suffer more hardship under me than any other player in the squad because he wants to play and he has had more disappointments.
‘I always tell them the best way to make anybody want you to play is on the pitch – and Conor does that every day.
‘He is a credit to himself.’
Chaplin has now scored 15 times in 59 Pompey appearances, the majority of those outings coming from the bench.
Still a teenager, he continues to demonstrate a rich promise.
The youngster from Worthing is one of the Fratton faithful’s favourite sons at present.
And it’s a relationship Cook insists is reciprocated.
He added: ‘Conor is a great kid and loves the supporters, he really does.
‘I think the relationship between both is great, it’s good for the club to have someone like that, and Gary Roberts is also getting there.
‘You get to that stage with fans when you can’t do any wrong. You run the ball out of play and they clap – someone else does that and they get abuse!
‘That’s football and it’s great the supporters identify with someone like Conor, I think it’s a really good relationship.’