Andy Awford surveyed loanee Alex Wynter and insisted: He reminds me of Glen Johnson.
The 20-year-old has emerged as a right-back candidate, despite possessing more experience as a central defender.
He turned in an eye-catching display in the role against Thurrock on Tuesday night, completing the full 90 minutes.
It followed Wynter’s second-half substitute role at Bognor the previous friendly when he had a shot cleared off the line.
Adam Webster, Danny East and Ben Close have also featured at right-back on occasions during pre-season to add to the competition.
And Awford has been impressed how new arrival Wynter has fared in the early stages of his Fratton Park stay.
He said: ‘I thought Alex did well against Thurrock.
‘He gets forward and reminds me of Glen Johnson the way he moves.
‘In my eyes there are similarities there.
‘His use of the ball was very good, he is athletic and has good pace.
‘I think we have good pace throughout the team, you can see we look a lively side.
‘I haven’t had an problems with him defensively at the moment.
‘But, to be fair, we’ve had a lot of the ball against these teams so far – maybe a test will come against Bournemouth and Charlton.
‘We’ll be looking at how he is with one-v-one stuff.
‘Let’s see what he is like when people are running at him rather than him running at them. That is to come.
‘I haven’t got him pinned down for right-back.
‘He is very flexible. If Nicky Shorey had pulled up on Tuesday night after coming on in the second half and you end up sticking him in at left-back, he can do that.
‘As you saw against Havant, he can play centre-half quite comfortably and gives me total flexibility, which is one of the reasons why I brought him in.
‘It wasn’t the plan for Alex to play all game against Thurrock but with Bradley (Tarbuck) going off we had to make a slight change.
‘That 90 minutes will do him good but we will reduce it tomorrow to make sure he is not an injury risk.’
Wynter should have capped his Ship Lane performance on Tuesday with a goal or two from his right-back berth.
Firstly he headed Ricky Holmes’ left-wing corner wide when unmarked at the far post.
And if that miss wasn’t improbable enough, he later followed it up by volleying the ball into the ground at close range from a similar position, causing it to bounce over the bar.
Awford added: ‘Alex should have scored from a set-piece at Thurrock – I told him to keep his eyes open!
‘He was unfortunate not to score at Bognor – but Tuesday’s was a bit of a sitter.
‘As Harry (Redknapp) would say: “My missus could have scored that!”’