Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill has backed Titus Bramble to fulfil the potential the late Sir Bobby Robson saw in him at the start of his career.
Robson rated Bramble as one of the best young defenders around when he signed him for Newcastle from Ipswich Town.
Bramble endured a difficult year on and off the pitch last year, but O'Neill admits he has been surprised by how the good the central defender actually is.
"Until I got here, I didn't quite realise how much potential he has," said O'Neill.
"I remember Sir Bobby speaking about him. He would wax lyrical about this young kid and I can see why.
"I still see those things with Titus but his major problem is staying fit."
Bramble is the final year of his contract, but O'Neill believes he can play his way to a new deal if he stays fit
"The injuries have niggled away at him," added O'Neill. "But if he stays fit, he's very capable of making the centre-half position his own."