Mark Kelly saluted Joe Dandy after he was named Pompey’s Scholar of the Year.
The defender was presented with the accolade at the club’s annual awards dinner last month.
Dandy, who accompanied Kenny Jackett’s side to Cork for pre-season last summer, spent the majority of the campaign on the sidelines with a knee injury.
But the Ascot-born talent made his first appearance since October in the young Blues’ 4-1 Merit League One curtain-closer to champions Southend on Saturday.
Dandy has not been offered third-year scholarship terms at Fratton Park.
The 18-year-old will return for pre-season duty to complete his rehab, though.
And Kelly heaped praise on Dandy’s mannerisms and attitude he’s shown during his lengthy spell on the treatment table.
Pompey’s youth boss said: ‘Joe has been brilliant and he has had a lot to deal with.
‘He obviously went to Ireland for pre-season with the first team, was doing alright and was plugging away.
‘He then went to Bognor on loan and was doing well over there before picking up a knee injury and had to go and have an operation in the end.
‘But it’s been his mannerisms around the club. You all need one, you all need a Joe Dandy.
‘He has been solid and it has been tough for him.
‘But everyday he comes in, gets his head down, his work done and has come out the other side.
‘We will monitor him through pre-season, guide him back to fitness and see where it goes.’
Dandy was earmarked to feature for Pompey in the Checkatrade Trophy at Crawley in October.
However, he was sent off for the Academy in their 5-4 loss to Swindon and was suspended for the game.
Haji Mnoga was instead handed his first-team bow in the 1-0 triumph.
Kelly feels that dismissal will be something Dandy will learn from.
He added: ‘Joe reacted to a tackle and that was part of his education.
‘You’ve got to keep your head at all times and it was an interesting one.’