Jake Hackett says he felt he 'held his own' on his Sunderland debut.
The 18-year-old midfielder played 90 minutes in the 1-0 win over Morecambe and impressed with his poise on the ball.
James Fowler praised Hackett for showing his quality and the midfielder himself praised Jack Ross for giving him an opportunity.
Seven academy products featured in the win, which secured the top spot of Sunderland's Checkatrade Trophy group.
"I'm chuffed to be honest," Hackett said.
"It was just good to get the opportunity to get some minutes under my belt and hopefully there'll be more soon.
"I thought I hold my own, I thought I was quite neat and tidy in possession.
"I felt I went a bit quiet but it is something to build on," he added.
"It was unbelievable, we had more fans than them.
"The physicality was a bit different, it was quicker than what we're used to in the U23s. That'll stand us in good stead.
"We're all buzzing and credit to the manager for giving us the chance to show what we're all about."
Hackett formed an effective partnership alongside Max Power, who wore the captain's armband on his return to the starting XI.
The midfielder said he hopes to learn from the 25-year-old's game management.
"I've seen him a few times in training, he's really vocal, good to look up to," Hackett said.
"The way he carries himself around the pitch, he's a real leader.
"That's something I can maybe take and add to my game."