Jamal Lowe has been one of Pompey’s chief threats in League One this season.
But Martin Tyler revealed the winger was like a ‘wounded animal’ when he arrived at Hampton & Richmond Borough in 2015.
Lowe endured a difficult first experience in the Football League with Barnet at the start of his career.
He made just 13 appearances for the Bees before dropping down the football pyramid.
It was at Hampton where Lowe got back on track and underlined his potential.
He scored 29 goals in 48 games for the Beavers, playing a pivotal role in them clinching the Ryman League premier division title in 2016.
Lowe’s impressive performances saw him attract interest from numerous clubs but he opted for a move to the Blues in January 2017.
He’s since been a success at Fratton Park – firing a double to earn Pompey promotion from League Two at Notts County.
Lowe has continued to thrive in the third tier and has been one of Kenny Jackett’s stand-out performers this term.
Tyler saluted the 23-year-old’s progress on the south coast and his dedication to resurrect his career.
The Hampton assistant boss and Sky Sports commentator said: ‘We are thrilled with what Jamal has done.
‘There were other clubs coming in for him but we thought not of the stature of Portsmouth.
‘I started my career with the old Southern Television and so have a soft spot for the teams on the south coast.
‘(Manager) Alan Gasson did a lot of the negotiations on behalf of Jamal.
‘He had a wonderful season with us. He played in the Football League when he was very young with Barnet but he was like a wounded animal when we got him.
‘He needed to be brought back to life. We did some of that but he did a lot of it himself.
‘He worked all through the summer after we had won what was then the Ryman League. He virtually went full time, giving up his teaching job.
‘So everything Jamal has got has been down to hard work and dedication. He is a fantastic lad and we love him to bits.’
Lowe has been a regular under Jackett this season, making 41 appearances and scoring seven goals. His performances earned him a contract extension until 2020.
The Harrow-born talent has predominantly functioned on the right flank for Pompey.
But Tyler reckons Lowe might be even more successful on the opposite wing.
He added: ‘For us, he was an attacking player on the left side of a front three.
‘I haven’t seen him play for Portsmouth very often in that position.
‘He scored virtually a goal every game-and-a-half in the year with us.
‘I don’t know but it is not for me to tell Kenny Jackett what to do.
‘You could say Jamal is becoming a more rounded player. But he is a very good finisher and I was pleased he scored against Gillingham.
‘Jamal was in the system but fell out of love with the game. He came back into non-league football and it is a great credit to him what he has done.’