Sunderland boss Steve Bruce admits striker Connor Wickham has all the attributes to succeed in the Premier League.
The £8million summer signing from Championship outfit Ipswich is pushing for a regular starting role for the Black Cats after impressing on Wearside.
Bruce believes the youngster has all the talent and could help play a huge part in the club's campaign.
He is adamant that the 18-year-old will finally get the chance to prove himself, possibly with a start against Bolton Wanderers on Saturday afternoon.
"Connor has got all the physical attributes and everything in his locker to succeed," said Bruce.
"He's big and strong but just a boy and I have had to protect him a little bit and I've never strayed from that.
"He is gradually learning and understanding what the Premier League is all about.
"It was never in my thoughts to pick him for the first or second game of the season. The plan was always to let him have a bit of time.
"We paid £8m for an 18-year-old and it could even be two years before he really flourishes.
"Look at the difference between Nicklas Bendtner now and when he was that age. Even Wayne Rooney, if you want to look at really great players.
"Of course, they're going to be better at 22 or 23 than at 18.
"Connor has knocked on the door asking what he has to do to get a chance.
"He hasn't exactly said 'play me' but he wanted to know what was required from him.
"He's disappointed not to have been picked before now and is itching for that chance.
"He is a hugely talented lad and he will play a big part in our season, without question."