Adam Barton reflected on his overdue Pompey debut and admitted: I was happy to play out of position for the manager.
The 24-year-old made his Blues bow in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy clash at Exeter City last night.
Paul Cook’s youthful side exited the competition at the first-round stage as they went down 2-0 to the Grecians at St James Park.
The Pompey manager fielded an entirely different 11 to the one that triumphed at Luton Town in League Two on Saturday.
Cook’s decision to ignore competition rules – which effectively demand clubs play six of their regular first-team players – saw six debutants and a host of youth-team players take to the field of play.
And while the move could yet see the Blues hit with the fine, for holding midfielder Barton it meant a first career start at centre-back.
But having been sidelined in pre-season by a groin injury, the summer arrival from Coventry City was just happy to be part of the action in Devon.
He said: ‘The manager pulled me on Monday and said “you are playing centre-half”.
‘Ordinarily, I wouldn’t be best pleased with that.
‘But last night I was really happy to play there.
‘I have played there in reserve-team games but it’s been nothing major until last night.
‘You think of centre-halves as wanting to head, smash and kick things forward.
‘But the manager likes centre-halves getting on the ball, spraying play and being almost like a holding midfielder who is dictating play.
‘If called upon again, I’d like to think I can go and do a job there.’
Barton made his Blues bow alongside three members of the Pompey Academy.
Fellow debutants Brandon Joseph-Buadi and Calvin Davies joined him on the St James Park pitch.
As did Adam May, who was playing only his second game at senior level following his own debut against Bury last season.
Barton was suitably impressed by the Blues’ youngsters – along with teenagers Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain and Kaleem Haitham, who came off the substitutes’ bench.
Summer signing Kal Naismith also marked his own return to fitness with his competitive debut.
And Barton believes there was plenty to be positive about.
He said: ‘It was good. I have been out for a while now and coming to a new team it’s not good when you are out injured all pre-season.
‘Despite the position, though, I really enjoyed it and was glad to get 90 minutes under my belt.
‘It will be good to get a game in central midfield some time but there is no rush – the time will come.
‘Obviously it was a very young team and a lot of debuts were being made against a strong Exeter team, so credit to the young lads stepping up.
‘There is plenty of talent there and they have got a taste for it now, so hopefully they can push forward.’