Portadown manager Matthew Tipton continues to preach patience as the best policy for Callum Ferris’ club career progress despite a stellar rise at international level.
The teenage striker made his debut for Northern Ireland under 21s this week in Finland, earning promotion off the back of scoring success with the under 19s.
However, Ferris’ international acclaim has arrived alongside limited minutes for Portadown on the domestic front.
A transfer target in the summer window, the 18-year-old’s development on the Ports’ books has been previously disrupted by injury and a number of setbacks with professional clubs but Tipton is determined to help Ferris fulfil his potential.
“Callum’s situation is unique to a degree in terms of the various lows suffered alongside the highs of his progress to this point,” said Tipton. “Everyone at the club is delighted with his accomplishments in the Northern Ireland set-up and excited to have Callum come back to the club in contention at Portadown with confidence flying.
“Our only goal is to give Callum the best opportunity to showcase his talents, like with any player, but he can best maximise that potential by fitting into the team set-up so everyone benefits.
“Physically Callum is in a position, even at just 18 years old, to handle those demands in an Irish League senior set-up but for his overall development we want him to continue to build on the work done to date on his technical and mental skillset.
“It is about learning how to use his physical strength in the right place and how to make everything work both individually and for the team.
“But we are in regular dialogue with Callum about everything and his hard work on the training ground is helping yield results like we have seen at international level.
“Callum has shown he is keen to learn and with that attitude he will only continue to develop alongside the work done in training - but it is always about the timing of everything, so it’s right for the player and the team.
“If a team is getting results on the pitch then players must wait for opportunities and I make my decisions based on lots of factors, including what we see in training and how players adjust to our plans.
“Callum, like everyone in the squad, will get chances and when the time comes we want to have him in the best possible position to take full advantage.
“Our job is to enhance the ability that has got each player to this point of playing for a club like Portadown in the Irish League.
“We are not talking about massive improvements but tweaks and small gains to help achieve the consistency that gives any player the best chance at a long and successful career.”