Blackburn Rovers boss Tony Mowbray says Jack Rodwell 'showed his quality' after returning to first team action.
The midfielder played 59 minutes on his debut, with the Championship side ultimately losing 3-2 to Bournemouth in the third round of the Carabao Cup.
Rodwell joined Blackburn after agreeing to bring his Sunderland contract to an early end.
It was the 27-year-old's first senior start for over a year, when Sunderland lost 3-0 to Everton in the competition.
He subsequently played two Checkatrade Trophy games but never featured under Chris Coleman.
“I’m pleased for Jack. It’s good that he’s back," Mowbray said.
“He’s been getting himself fit, getting up to speed and trying to integrate himself into our club at this moment in time.
"I see his quality every day in training. He’s got lovely soft feet, 6’3”, is mobile and he will be a big asset moving forward for us I’m sure.
“You have to put it into context that it’s probably his first start really in a year or so.
“But from what I’ve seen he’s a good professional, a good lad who is working hard. He understands the demands we put on our team and he knows he has to fight to get into the side on a regular basis.
“What I saw tonight is that quality and the fight to get into our team. Let’s see how he gets on in the near future."
Rodwell played at centre-back as Mowbray switched to a back three.
The former Black Cat moved there in the latter stages of his time on Wearside, with Simon Grayson saying: "He told me that, before going into the first team, he had played centre-half for Everton and also through the age groups with England, and he felt that might be his best position because psychologically, and maybe physically as well, his body perhaps can’t take the demands of playing in midfield any more.
“He’s still young, but sometimes these factors happen.
“So, after having a look at it over the last few weeks, we played him there at Doncaster and then again the other night.
“It gives us another option there, and time will tell whether he might play there for the first team.”
Mowbray has said that he intends to use Rodwell either at centre-back or in defensive midfield.