Lee Cattermole has praised George Honeyman and Ethan Robson’s workrate and enthusiasm - and backed the duo to have good careers.
The academy graduates provided the legs in midfield, with the club’s longest serving player providing the experience in the 1-0 win over Hull City.
Cattermole described the win - which lifted Sunderland off the bottom of the Championship - as 'massive' and was keen to highlight the contribution of the younger players, with Josh Maja and goalscorer Joel Asoro also starring.
Cattermole won the ball to start the move which saw Honeyman and Maja play a one-two before releasing Asoro who finished superbly.
On Honeyman and Robson, making his league debut, Cattermole said: "They were great, they are both full of enthusiasm, great lads, always putting the graft in on the training ground.
"They are both going to have very good careers.
"All the young lads stepped up and that’s what we’re going to need from everyone. We’ve got lads coming back from injury as well.
"It’s a big three or four months for the club and we’ve got to keep putting together performances like that.
"It’s difficult for the young lads but they really stepped up, proved they are ready to play in the first team and will go from strength to strength.
"We have to remember what makes us good players is work rate, effort and desire and it’s easy to get away from that."
Cattermole added: "You could see from the outset the tempo we played at, the pressing and togetherness.
"Every man from Robbin to Josh and Joel up front was bang at it and that’s what it’s going to take every week to get through this season."