Jack Ross said that Denver Hume can be 'very pleased' with his contribution in Sunderland's 1-1 draw with Fleetwood Town.
Hume was preferred to Reece James at left-back with Bryan Oviedo away on international duty.
The 22-year-old impressed and was involved in Josh Maja's equaliser.
"He deserved to play," Ross said.
"His two performances in the cup ties, on his wrong side, were really encouraging because it is not easy to do.
"Even more than that, he's one who has really grasped how we train every day and taken on that challenge really well, completing changing his tempo.
"He's got that natural aggression and positivity about his play.
What I like about him is that although he makes mistakes, his reaction is excellent. Players always mistakes, it is how you react.
"He can be very pleased with his contribution.
"It was encouraging for us as a club that we had four younger players from our academy and they've all made a contribution for us."