David Moyes has hailed the 'incredible' Jordan Pickford after he was nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year award.
While full of praise for the other nominees, Moyes feels the 23-year-old deserves the award for making the biggest breakthrough in the current campaign.
Moyes said: "I always thought Jordan would be in that position. His performances this season have been incredible.
"For a young goalkeeper to come in and nearly be clean all season – aside from that one mistake in his first game at Southampton – is fantastic. He has been impeccable almost all season.
"For me he has certainly been the best newcomer as a young player – we knew already about Deli Alli and one or two others who have been nominated.
"I think Jordan coming on to the scene and doing so well has been a real bonus for us."
Pickford has made 25 appearances across all competitions this season, having spent time on the sidelines over the new year with a knee injury, and is attracting interest from the very top of the Premier League.
He has, however, remained grounded and that reminds Moyes of another Sunderland academy graduate, Jordan Henderson.
Moyes said: "I think that's the area he comes from.
"It's his family that have kept him that way [modest] as well, which is a great thing.
"I think it was very much the same for Jordan Henderson who, since he left Sunderland has gone on to be Liverpool captain and also captained England.
"I don't know Jordan Henderson that well, but from what I do know I think he and Jordan Pickford are similar characters.
"They are two lads who love their football, they are well-grounded, not big-headed, and they work hard every week to improve themselves."
Moyes also paid tribute to young striker Joel Asoro after he was nominated for the European Golden Boy award.
The title, voted for by journalists across Europe, is given to the youngster deemed to have made the biggest impact over a calendar year and has previously been won by Paul Pogba and Lionel Messi.
The Black Cats boss urged caution over a raw talent still learning his trade, but hopes he is on the path to a breakthrough.
He said: "I think he got built up quite quickly, you’ve seen enough to say he’s doing well, he’s 17 going on 18, making good progress, he’s one of ours who’ve we got hope for. It is not instant, though, it is potential but not there just yet. We’re thrilled he’s being nominated and we think he’s getting on and doing the right things."