Martin O'Neill believes striker Connor Wickham is still "a work in progress" but insists Sunderland will give him the help he needs to develop.
Signed from Ipswich for £8.1million last summer, the 18-year-old has scored just one goal from six starts and eight substitute appearances for the Black Cats.
Fraizer Campbell's impressive return from injury appears to have pushed Wickham further down the pecking order, but O'Neill suggests the club will work closely with the striker's development.
"Connor requires what I would consider a proper bit of attention because he's such a young lad," O'Neill told The Daily Star.
"He needs more time to develop and afternoons when we'll be working on his technique. He wants to improve and is certainly not snubbing it.
"We've done a little bit with him but he's a work in progress.
"When I arrived, he had been out for five weeks and I had to ask him to play (against Blackburn) when Nicklas Bendtner failed a fitness test and I was delighted with him for 75 minutes.
"He's had another injury since and he's taken a bit of time to recover but he's very young and he's willing."