GARY WADDOCK called for patience as he prepares to continue with Pompey’s youngsters.
The Blues caretaker boss has promised to continue using the club’s emerging players over the final two games of the season.
But he feels they need leeway to learn about the game at the highest level, as the team prepare to go to Mansfield tomorrow.
Ben Close shone as he was given his full league debut against Bury at Fratton Park last weekend.
Waddock feels the Fratton talent is an example of how young players need to be given time to flourish.
Close made a costly mistake against Aldershot last November in the FA Cup as he was caught on the ball for the Shots’ equaliser.
But the midfielder has been given time to rebuild his confidence and the talent he possesses was evident against the promotion-chasing Shakers.
Waddock said: ‘Ben’s a good footballer who is comfortable in possession of the football.
‘He’s calm on the ball, has a lot of composure and can see a pass.
‘Ben needs to get more game time at this level so he develops.
‘Young players make mistakes – senior players make mistakes – and there will be one or two more from them.
‘We have to make sure with the younger players that, if they do make a mistake, we still allow them to develop in a comfortable environment.
‘It’s not about pinpointing and having a go.
‘With someone like Closey you want them to get on the ball and dictate play.
‘We all have good and bad times but you have to learn from the mistakes.
‘Closey, in fairness, has done and he’s done extremely well on the training ground and in development games.’
Adam May and Conor Chaplin also saw first-team minutes and Waddock confirmed that will now continue for the club’s younger players.
Waddock said: ‘We have a lot of injuries at the moment and that opens the door for the likes of Closey, Conor Chaplin and Adam May. They will be better for these experiences.
‘There’s young players in the system here who look very, very good.
‘They are talented young men and that’s not even counting Adam Webster, Jed Wallace and Dan Butler.
‘There’s a young group of players here who, given time and the right coaching and advice, will grow into very good players for this football club.’
May’s name was a surprise inclusion on the bench last weekend.
The 17-year-old is still a first-year scholar but has caught Waddock’s eye in his time at the club.
Waddock said: ‘Adam’s a talented young player. I’ve enjoyed watching him on the training ground and in development games.
‘He has a good future ahead of him. I wanted to bring him into the first-team squad and he’s trained with them on a few occasions.
‘He’s similar to Closey. He’s one who is comfortable in possession and can see a pass. You have to give these young players time. It’s a good experience for them.’