Only injuries have stopped Jack Whatmough becoming a Premier League player.
And the defender has been backed to make a full recovery from his latest setback and prove a big asset to Pompey.
Whatmough’s former academy and first-team coach, Paul Hardyman, is one of the men to have spent most time aiding the Gosport talent’s development.
The 22-year-old lined up with Adam Webster in the middle of defence at both junior and senior level.
He said: ‘I was sat with Richie Barker when we had Jack and Adam Webster in my youth team.
‘I told him then, and I wasn’t joking, these two will be your centre-halves in a year or two.
‘We ended up playing them when we took the first team because they were good enough.
‘If you take his injuries away I’m sure Jack would’ve been sold and would be touted as a Premier League player like Webbo as well.
‘Jack was the out-and-out defender who was comfortable in possession whereas Webbo was more of an elegant player who caught the eye by bringing it out.
‘Together they complemented each other massively in how they played.
‘He’s an excellent player and I’m sure he will come back because I know what a strong-minded kid he is.’
Whatmough’s injury issues in recent seasons have been well documented, but Hardyman has confidence in his ability to tackle his latest challenge.
He added: ‘I think the first thing he has to do is get back and play.
‘Once he’s done that and proved he’s injury free I’m sure he will help Pompey up the league.
‘Through that he will get recognition and we will see where he goes.
‘I’m sure Kenny was crying out for him to be fit at the back end of last season.
‘The main thing for him now, though, is to get back playing because the lad is such a talent. I know he will do that.’