Stephane Sessegnon is showing he can lead Sunderland to success this season, according to Black Cats' striker Asamoah Gyan.
Benin international Sessegnon has been outstanding in Sunderland's pre-season friendly programme, and Gyan has been hugely impressed.
"Stephane is the man of the moment, he's doing everything right," Gyan told BBC Newcastle.
"If he continues into the season he'll be one of the best players around."
Talking as Steve Bruce and his squad completed their preparations for this weekend's opening Premier League fixture against Liverpool at Anfield, Gyan said Sessegnon's form was one of the reasons Sunderland were quietly confident before the trip to Merseyside.
"Every time [Sessegnon] has the ball he takes out two or three players, and it really helps the team," said the Ghana international.
"Liverpool have had a difficult pre-season, they've conceded 15 goals in three games or something, so they'll be even more determined to prove a point, but we know what we're capable of."
Bruce signed Sessegnon from French club Paris St Germain last January. He paid £6m for the 27-year-old, who signed a three-and-a-half-year deal.
Sessegnon began his career playing club football in Benin before moving to French second division side Creteil. He then moved to Le Mans before signing for PSG in 2008.
Gyan, whose fitness and form will be key to Sunderland's chances of success this season, said his own condition was improving all the time after rejoining the club late due to international commitments.
"It's not been easy, when I arrived the others were already ahead and I found it a bit difficult, but I'm getting better and better," said Gyan, whose domestic preparations will be disrupted again this week when he travels to play a friendly international.
Bruce has criticised the decision to schedule international friendlies three days prior to the new Premier League season.
Phil Bardsley (Scotland), Sebastian Larsson (Sweden), Simon Mignolet (Belgium), John O'Shea and Keiren Westwood (both Republic of Ireland) and David Vaughan (Wales) will also be away from the club, and Bruce will have his fingers firmly crossed all return uninjured.
"We need to be consistent, and injuries did not help us in that respect last season," said Gyan.