DeAndre Yedlin has won praise from USA national head coach Jurgen Klinsmann for the progress made during his season-long loan at Sunderland.
The 22-year-old right-back joined from Tottenham Hotspur last summer and became a key member of manager Sam Allardyce's defence as the club successfully fought relegation.
Spurs are set to cash in on £2million-rated Yedlin this summer, with the USA international third-choice right-back at White Hart Lane.
A permanent move back to Sunderland could be on the cards and Klinsmann has praised the defender for the marked improvement in his game.
Ex-Germany and Spurs striker Klinsmann - who praised Sam Allardyce for his 'awesome' job in keeping Sunderland in the top flight - says the spell on Wearside has made Yedlin stronger.
Klinsmann said: "We’re thrilled about his season because he broke through at Sunderland and Sunderland’s not an easy spot to play at, especially when they’re fighting relegation.
"I think for DeAndre this was a big learning year and made him stronger, made him better and hopefully also more confident.
"With what he’s going through, he’s still a very young player and it couldn’t have gone any better during the season.
"Most importantly, Sunderland were not relegated.
"They saved themselves and he played a vital role in that with an awesome coach, Sam Allardyce, so he gets a big confidence boost and now he has to confirm this good form at the Copa America."
The pacy full-back ousted Billy Jones at right-back on his way to making 25 appearances for the Black Cats.
Yedlin is expected to be first-choice right-back for the USA heading into next month’s Copa America.