Lynden Gooch is confident he has what it takes to shine for Sunderland in the Premier League - and he has promised there is much more to come.
The winger has broken into the first team under David Moyes, who Gooch has thanked for showing faith that he can compete on the big stage.
Moyes handed the 20-year-old his first Premier League start on the opening day of the season against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium and he has since made six appearances.
And the Academy graduate is pleased to have been given the chance to showcase his ability in the top flight.
“Since the first game I played for him, he has given me the belief that I can play on the big stage,” California-born Gooch said.
“I firmly believe that I can now compete at that level and play in this team.
“Since the first game, I have believed I can do that.
“He wants us to work hard for the team, he wants us all to put a shift in and that’s what the manager wants too.”
Gooch, who signed a new three-year deal earlier this year, was dropped to the bench for the 1-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur.
But the USA Under-23 international was recalled for the EFL Cup win over QPR.
It proved a mixed night, with Gooch losing possession too often, while his corners left a lot to be desired, but he is eager to keep improving.
“It’s positive I am involved. He could have taken me out. I think I can still do a lot better,” added Gooch.
“I gave the ball away a bit too much at QPR, so I was not as good as I can be. A win is a win, though.
“You want to play every game, but sometimes you probably do need taking out from time to time; even more so for youngsters sometimes because everything is played at 100 miles per hour.
“You want to impress. We all want to play every minute of every game because we have had a taste of it, but obviously that can’t be the case.
“The manager has said to work hard, to do what you do best and play it simple.
“He says that what I was doing has got me here, so I need to continue that. I am working hard and want to learn every day.
“I have taken the league games in my stride and I know I can still get better.
“At times [against QPR], I was trying to do too much, but I need to concentrate on getting the basics right.”
Sunderland are back in action tomorrow against Crystal Palace at the Stadium of Light, with Moyes looking for his first league win.
This week is a key period, with West Bromwich Albion travelling to Wearside next Saturday ahead of the international break.
“We know these next two games are already huge,” added Gooch.
“We need to win these home games. We have not had the best of form so far at home or away, so these two home games we have now are important for us, we all know that.”