Jake Clarke-Salter has been backed to be a big hit in the Championship - with Chris Coleman tipped to get the best out of him.
The 20-year-old, Coleman’s first signing, arrived at Sunderland with an impressive pedigree having featured for England Under-20s in their World Cup triumph last summer.
Clarke-Salter, who has represented the Three Lions throughout his youth, is on loan from Chelsea for the rest of the season and has quickly settled into Sunderland’s back three.
This is the second loan spell of his promising career, with the centre-back having spent last season at League One Bristol Rovers.
Clarke-Salter made 12 appearances under Rovers boss Darrell Clarke, his loan spell interrupted by a broken arm.
But Clarke saw enough of his namesake during his loan to know that Sunderland have a top talent on their hands.
"Jake is a fantastic character. He came in on loan to gain some experience and him and Charlie Colkett came at the same time from Chelsea,” Clarke told the Echo.
"Jake is a very gifted, technical centre half. Obviously there are areas of his game he could improve on, showing a bit more strength at times perhaps, but he acquitted himself superbly in League One for us.
"Unfortunately he was playing really well and then broke his arm.
"He missed a chunk of games but came back at the back end of the season and did very well for us.
"Jake is more than capable of making the step up to the Championship."
As well as his technical ability, Clarke-Salter’s attitude shone through too on the training pitches at Bristol.
Ex-Hartlepool United midfielder Clarke added: "It is a different environment at Bristol Rovers compared to Chelsea but he acquitted himself really well and came with the right attitude.
"He really fitted into the team spirit that we have here and he would have gained a lot from the experience, which we have done with a few young lads coming in from Premier League clubs.
"Jake is very vocal. He talks, communicates a lot.
"He had a good experience in League One last season with us and then went on to win the World Cup with England Under-20s, which would have been another fantastic experience.
"Jake is a very confident player and is certainly one for the future."
Sunderland didn’t have a game this weekend after their Championship fixture away at Birmingham City was rearranged for Tuesday night, with Clarke-Salter set to start alongside John O’Shea and Tyias Browning.
His former manager is wary of putting too much pressure on the Chelsea youth but Clarke is confident he will find his feet in the Championship.
"It is difficult to say in terms of his future just how good he will be but what I can say is that he adapted very well to League One and the Championship won’t be a problem for him, especially with the ball at his feet," added Clarke.
"He is a very technical player, like all young lads they need a run of games.
"You never really know until you get him into a Championship team and see him play 15-20 games and see how he settles down but he is more than capable of making that step up.
"It is a great challenge for him at Sunderland.
"Chris Coleman is a fantastic manager and he will bring him on leaps and bounds."