TEENAGER Adam Webster is on the road to football fame after breaking into Pompey’s first team despite only just turning 17.
The former Chichester High School for Boys pupil has made a couple of Championship appearances as a substitute and has been on the bench for other games too.
Such is the defender’s growing importance to Pompey they have pulled him out of the England under-17 squad for a friendly tournament in Portugal.
Pompey academy manager Andy Awford is delighted by Webster’s progress - but is warning against anyone getting carried away by his potential just yet.
Webster was born in Chichester and still lives in the Witterings.
He has been with Pompey since joining their under-nines set-up.
Awford, who himself broke into Pompey’s team as a 16-year-old, said: “He’s come right through the club’s system and became a first-year apprentice at the start of this season.
“Steve Cotterill, our previous manager, liked Adam and he trained with the first team a few times and now Michael Appleton has given him further opportunities, which he has taken in his stride really well.”
Webster was an unused sub for Pompey’s FA Cup loss at Chelsea but came on in successive Championship games against West Ham and Cardiff. He was on the bench for the win at Peterborough on Saturday but didn’t get on.
Awford said Webster had deserved his chance and, importantly, was aware he had plenty still to learn.
“I’m not one to raise expectations,” former Rocks assistant manager Awford said. “I like to keep these lads grounded and earning the right to be involved with the first team.
“Adam must continue to learn but he has a nice temperament - he’s mature beyond his years and isn’t fazed by things. He has lots to learn and a long, long way to go, but he’s moving in the right direction.”
Webster is a centre-half first and foremost but can also slot in at right-back or even left-back despite being right-footed.
The 6ft 2in youngster is comfortable in possession and reads the game well - all attributes which have earned him a chance ahead of many of his contemporaries.
Awford said: “It’s rare for a first-year apprentice to get into the first team but not unheard of. Gary O’Neil would be the fairly recent example people would remember.
“The average age for a player making his debut in the Championship is 21, which shows you how well Adam’s done to get in at such a young age.”