Sunderland defender Titus Bramble believes under-fire boss Steve Bruce is right to ease striker Connor Wickham into Premier League action.
Despite the Wearsiders enduring a tough start to the season, Bruce has been reluctant to turn to the 18-year-old Wickham, who cost an initial £8.1million from Ipswich in June.
Bramble, 30, speaks from personal experience in backing Bruce's policy, having left the Tractor Boys for Newcastle United in 2002.
"I know exactly what it has been like for Connor here because I was in a very similar situation when I left Ipswich for Newcastle," he told the Sunderland Echo.
"You go from playing at a club in a small town to suddenly playing in the north-east where football is everything.
"He hasn't known anything like it and it can be a little bit overwhelming - coming on as a late substitute in the game against Newcastle for example would have been incredibly difficult for him with fans expecting miracles.
"It's tough when you're as young as that. When you come in with a big price on your head, sometimes fans expect big things from you straight away.
"That's fine if you are an established player, but when you are young you need time. I was thrown straight in at Newcastle and it was tough.
"But in Connor's case, the manager has been looking to ease him in, giving him games every now and again. It is much better to do that than to throw him in at the deep end."