Sunderland's American midfielder Lynden Gooch has told The Guardian he always felt he could make the grade in the Premier League.
Gooch, born in California to a British father and an Irish mother, was selected by Black Cats boss David Moyes for the opening game of the season, a 2-1 defeat at Manchester City, and has been in the lineup ever since.
The 20-year-old found out that he was to make his debut against Pep Guardiola's City 24 hours before the game and said: "I knew I was good enough from a young age. I was really confident. I had no doubts.
"I think that's a big part of it. If you have the confidence in your ability, anything can happen."
Gooch came through the Sunderland academy and said the club had "been fantastic for me and my family, looking after me. It showed that they were interested in me and it paid off."
He signed a two-year scholarship deal at the age of 16, going on to make his first-team debut in a League Cup tie against Exeter last season and said Moyes had helped encourage young players that they could hold down a place in his starting XI.
"A lot of young players in the Premier League find it frustrating because they don't ever get an opportunity. But we've had more under-21s training with the first-team than ever," he said.
He is targeting a return to the U.S. U20 squad, from which he was omitted at last year's Under-20 World Cup, adding: "I had a lot of pride putting on that shirt. I played a lot of football in California and I owe a lot to the country. The door is wide open at the minute."