LIAM BRIDCUTT is confident former Chelsea team-mate Patrick van Aanholt will prove to be a hit at Sunderland.
Bridcutt came through the ranks at Stamford Bridge alongside left-back van Aanholt, who penned a four-year deal at the Stadium of Light last week after joining in a £1.5million move from Chelsea.
Like former Brighton midfielder Bridcutt, van Aanholt was forced to move elsewhere to experience regular first-team football after spending the last two-and-a-half years on loan with Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem.
But now that van Aanholt has got his chance of being a Premier League regular, Bridcutt believes the 23-year-old will thrive.
Bridcutt told SportMail: “I was with Pat at Chelsea. we came through the reserves together.
“He’s a very good player, he’s shown his quality in training over the last week or so and hopefully he can take that into the games.
“He’s very quick.
“With me, I had to drop down a few leagues to build myself up to get here.
“Pat was like myself, he was at Chelsea, but wasn’t getting the opportunities.
“Now he’s got a great chance to come here and work with a top manager.”
Van Aanholt is expected to make his first Sunderland appearance in tonight’s friendly against CD Nacional, but Bridcutt made his pre-season bow in last night’s 1-0 victory over Recreativo de Huelva here in Portugal.
Bridcutt missed Sunderland’s first three pre-season friendlies, as he continued his recuperation from the knee injury suffered towards the end of last season.
But the £2.5million January signing has been doing extra work on his fitness to get up to speed with his team-mates and was glad to be back involved with a Sunderland side largely composed of players from the Under-21 squad.
“I was carrying a little injury from last season. I had to get myself right to get back,” added Bridcutt.
“It was good to get an opportunity to play last night, playing with the Under-21s who I’m sure as everyone has seen, we’ve got some great players coming through.
“It was good to get out there again.
“I’ve still been able to do a full pre-season.
“It was just a case of being cautious really and not rushing into things.
“All credit to the medical team, they’ve given me enough time to get right and be ready for the games.
“I was probably a week behind the lads, but I’ve caught up with all the running now – early mornings on my own.
“I think that was the hardest part. When you’re with the rest of the lads, you help each other through it, but mentally you’ve got to dig in when you’re on your own.”