Despite a clamour for Steve Bruce to use Connor Wickham with more regularity, Titus Bramble believes the Sunderland boss is utilising the young striker in exactly the right way.
Bramble understands the plight of Wickham, 18, having himself made a big-money move from Ipswich to the north-east during his formative years as a professional.
The imposing defender left Suffolk for Newcastle in 2002 - something he found a particularly daunting experience.
Wickham, meanwhile, was signed by Sunderland for £8 million during the transfer window, and has so far made only substitute appearances against Newcastle and Chelsea.
But Bramble believes Wickham will benefit in the long-term from being eased into first-team action by his new manager.
“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,” Bramble told The Journal.
“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 know anything like it and it can be a little bit overwhelming – coming on as a late substitute in the game against Newcastle United 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.”
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