Jordan Pickford has backed his former Preston North End boss Simon Grayson to succeed at Sunderland.
Pickford, who left Wearside for Everton in a £30milllion deal earlier this summer, spent time working under Grayson during a highly successful loan spell at Preston in the 2015-16 campaign.
And the England Under-21 international believes Grayson is just what the club needs as it looks to bounce back from relegation to the Championship.
Pickford, 23, said: "I went to Preston to cross those bridges, to become the best keeper I can be.
"I got the opportunity to go to work with Simon and his staff there and it was a massive help for me.
"When I saw the appointment, I was over the moon for the club. He was a man-manager and the fans really liked him as well.
"He plays a good style of football as well, and it's what I think Sunderland needed, really.
"I think he will be great for the club."
Pickford, who competed at this summer's European Under-21s Championship with England, returned to the Academy of Light recently to thank the backroom staff who helped him become one of the hottest prospects in English football.
The Sunderland fan also thanked the Black Cats supporters for the backing they have given him since breaking into the side.
Washington-born Pickford, who came through the Academy at Sunderland, says he will return to Sunderland to lend his support as often as he can.
Pickford added: "The fans were top draw for me, from me being a fan to then playing in front of them.
"Hopefully I will be coming back as a fan, watching the games when I can.
"I might get myself in the South Stand!"