One loan spell, six games, three positions – the priceless learning curve for Alex Wynter.
Now the 20-year-old arrives at Fratton Park buoyed by the discovery he is capable of defensive versatility.
The Crystal Palace central defender ventured to Colchester in April, with the subsequent 35-day stay seeing him emerge a different player.
Thrown in for his Football League debut in the unfamiliar role of left-back, Wynter would also be challenged to operate at right-back.
Eventually, he featured in his favoured central-defensive position as he helped the U’s successfully avoid relegation and remain in League One.
A powerful period of development for the youngster, whose flexibility caught the attention of Andy Awford.
And Wynter believes he is ready to enhance his game over the forthcoming season with Pompey.
He said: ‘I have always felt my most comfortable at centre-half, but after my loan at Colchester I feel confident anywhere across the back four now.
‘I opened up a new door.
‘I learnt a lot in those six games and cannot wait for this season to see what else happens.
‘It started with me playing left-back for my Football League debut. I was thrown in at the deep end, it took me a while to get into it but once I got going I loved it.
‘I am naturally right-footed but am comfortable on my left foot. There are ways to get around it, such as I can come inside on my right foot, but I feel comfortable with my left foot and wouldn’t shy away from using it.
‘Then I was moved to right-back when the right-back got injured, and when the centre-half got injured I slotted in there as well.
‘Being quite tall at a young age I started off at Palace up front, then dropped into the centre of midfield and now I find myself at the back. Hopefully, I won’t find myself in goal!
‘I feel more natural at centre-half but showed at Colchester I can play pretty much anywhere across the back four.
‘I really enjoyed my time there, the fans enjoyed what I did and, personally, I think I did really well – keeping a few clean sheets and scoring my first professional goal.
‘It was almost perfect, really. When I went there they were in a bit of relegation trouble and only just keeping their head above the water, but we managed to steer away from it.’
Wynter has yet to quiz Selhurst Park team-mate Joel Ward on what to expect from joining up with Pompey.
Ward has made a massive impact with the Eagles since moving from Fratton in the summer of 2012, following 96 appearances and six goals.
In the process, he also established himself as a versatile Blues performer, featuring at right-back, left-back and in midfield.
Wynter added: ‘I haven’t spoken to Wardy yet. I was meant to be back in on Monday with him but joined Portsmouth instead. I am sure I will give him a text.
‘He has done really well since he has been there. He has flourished, taken his chance and was probably one of the best defenders in the Premier League last year – that is one of the best leagues in the world.
‘He is playing right-back, left-back, centre midfielder, he is so versatile and doing really well.’