Chris Coleman has heaped praise on January addition Jake Clarke-Salter after the defender made his home debut for the club on Saturday.
Featuring in the heart of the defence alongside John O’Shea and Tyias Browning, Clarke-Salter adapted well to his new surroundings at the Stadium of Light.
After enduring a difficult debut at Cardiff City the week before, the 20-year-old, who joined on loan until the end of the season from Premier League Champions Chelsea, looked bright and assured as he helped secure the lads’ fifth clean sheet in 11 matches.
A clean sheet which also meant that Joel Asoro’s 20th minute strike was enough to give the lads a precious three points in their bid to climb the Sky Bet Championship.
And speaking to safc.com, Coleman, 47, was full of praise for the England U20 World Cup winner while also paying tribute to the rest of his backline.
“Men’s football is different to under-23s football,” he said.
“I keep saying that. If you are bottom of the league and you are in a relegation dogfight you find a bit out about yourself and I thought, he was terrific.
“There were one or two moments when he got caught in between.
“You expect that because he is new. His first game in Cardiff was his first game for seven weeks so he is playing catch up. His intent and personality oozed class and determination.
“I thought John O’Shea and Lee Cattermole were absolutely brilliant. They led by example. Tyias Browning is getting better and better with more experience,” he continued.
“I have stood here after a poor performance or a defeat, we look at it now – it is another win, five clean sheets in 11 games. It’s not all bad.
“We have got things to work on, there are loads of other battles but let’s enjoy this win because the whole team deserve a pat on the back.”