Patrick van Aanholt has admitted to the Sheilds Gazette that his own form over the start of the season was poor.
The Dutch defender struggled under the guidance of Dick Advocaat, where he was regularly caught out defensively.
However, since being given a wing-back role by Sam Allardyce, he has improved considerably – and he even got on the scoresheet during Sunderland’s latest fixture against Stoke City.
And the former Chelsea man said: “I started the season very badly and that happens with young players coming to the Premier League.
“I had my ups and downs, but since the new gaffer came in, he’s given everyone a chance.
“I’m glad I’m playing and I’ve got my first Premier League goal.”
Van Aanholt’s attacking class has come to the fore since being given more licence to get forward under Allardyce, and he is looking like one of the Black Cats’ most in form players at the moment.
The 25-year-old was highly impressive against Stoke, and he played a key role in their victory.
Sunderland’s 2-0 triumph has meant they have recored back-to-back wins for the first time this season, and they have now moved out of the bottom three.
The Black Cats had looked to be in a relegation fight, but Allardyce has sparked a huge improvement in their form, and optimism is growing by the game at the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland’s next match comes against Arsenal, and that will give Allardyce’s men a chance to show how far they have progressed.