Jack Ross has praised Grant Leadbitter’s professionalism and believes the midfielder has helped raise standards since re-joining in January.
Leadbitter signed for his boyhood club on a free transfer earlier this year and has started all 11 games since.
The veteran was last at the Stadium of Light a decade ago before moving to Ipswich, but despite an obvious passion for the club, Ross believed it is his work ethic that will help galvanise the team.
“Irrespective of what club he was at, I think he does things properly, that’s his nature,” Ross told the Sunderland Echo.
“But he does have a very obvious passion for this club and he’s really, really desperate to bring success back to this club and start this journey beck to where we feel we should be.
“From the very first time I spoke to him I liked him on a personal and professional level and it’s just a bonus that he’s a Sunderland fan because if he hadn’t been I would still have wanted to him but it’s a nice bonus to have. It’s unusual.
“It doesn’t happen all that often that you have someone with such a strong affinity to the club coming back to it.”
Next up for Sunderland is the EFL Trophy final against Portsmouth.