Jack Whatmough revealed he has overcome his shyness as he begins to feel more settled in the Pompey first-team squad.
The teenage central defender was handed his Blues debut by boss Andy Awford back in November.
And the 17-year-old now looks set for a key role in the League Two season, which starts at Exeter tomorrow.
But he is keen to continue his progress as he tries to build on the huge potential he has shown so far.
‘The thing I found the hardest was just being around the other boys to start with,’ said Whatmough.
‘When I first joined the first-team squad, I was 16-17 years old and they are blokes who are in their 20s and 30s.
‘For any younger player, just trying to have a conversation and being part of the group takes a little while to feel comfortable. It wasn’t that they were pushing me away. But I was quite shy at the time so it was quite hard.
‘It wasn’t that I wasn’t accepted but I just feel a bit more comfortable now.
‘They know I have played a bit now. They are more comfortable with me and I’m more comfortable with them.’
While he clearly had to adjust quickly following his rise from the Academy ranks, Whatmough has also learned some vital life lessons.
He said: ‘I think I am learning every day from these players and improving.
‘I still get the banter because I’m a young lad.
‘But because I’m used to them now, I can give a little bit back sometimes.’