Pompey’s young guns came out of their senior examination with great credit.
That is the view of Pompey Academy boss Mark Kelly, following the Blues’ Johnstone’s Paint Trophy defeat at Exeter City last night.
In total, five of the club’s youth team were given game-time – with Adam May the only one who has played previously for the first team.
That meant debuts for four of Pompey’s most promising talents.
Right-back Calvin Davies and attacking midfielder Brandon Joseph-Buadi started for Paul Cook’s side in the 2-0 loss at St James Park.
Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain and Kaleem Haitham also made their Blues bows off the substitutes’ bench, while fellow second-year scholars Alex Bass and Dory Yates were unused subs in the 16-man squad.
Kelly was delighted to see so many of the talents given a chance to shine.
And he reckons they will have learned a lot from their taste of first-team action.
‘For everyone at the Academy it was a proud night,’ said Kelly.
‘It is a massive education for them.
‘You can’t get a better education than getting out and playing first-team football
‘Paul (Cook) is a real advocate of giving young players a chance and he can see we have kids who can go out and play at that level.
‘There is going to be a time when you give them a go and see what they are all about.
‘It was great last night the gaffer took the decision and we saw them at the next level.
‘But you go in the changing room afterwards and they are disappointed they have lost.’
Kelly ran the rule over each of his young guns and believes Joseph-Buadi, who conceded the penalty for Exeter’s opener, will be better for the experience.
The Academy chief said: ‘Look at little Calvin Davies, he got up and down, got in great areas with good energy and he lasted the game fantastically well.
‘Brandon went on some good runs and used the ball well.
‘He’s upset to give the penalty away – it looked soft.
‘But it is a great learning curve.
‘We will put an arm around him and he will be greater for the experience.
‘Adam was solid. He used the ball and the pitch really well.
‘Kaleem came on and was comfortable in a one-v-one situation and Christian got around the pitch, put some good tackles in areas and kept the ball moving.’