Dickman took charge of the Under 23s after the departure of Andy Welsh.

Sunderland under-23 boss Elliot Dickman described being part of Ethan Robson’s development as a “proud moment” following Sunderland’s 2-0 win over Athletic Bilbao.

Robson’s first half strike helped secured a semi-final berth in the Premier League International Cup.

Dickman said: “I’ve been around Ethan and worked with Ethan since he was eight years old.

“It’s great and to be around Ethan now as he gets older and the fact that he trains really well is important.

“If you train well I think you play well. Ethan is not one of these who goes out there and just does enough, he really goes out their and gives it his all.”

The Black Cats boss was also pleased with the performance of his Sunderland side.

“I thought the start of the game we were a little bit frantic, a little bit nervy.

“We settled down and played some nice stuff and I thought second half when they (Athletic Bilbao) had had the man sent off, it became a little bit easier.

“We had a great chance with Joel (Asoro) just after half time and then we got the goal quite quickly after that.

“To be fair to them I thought they kept going and they took more risks which opened up the game a little bit for us and we exploited that little bit of space”, added Dickman.

Dickman enjoyed the occasion at the Stadium of Light and believes it will live long in the memory of his players.

“Whatever happens to these boys and their futures, here at Sunderland or elsewhere, the fact they have

played at the Stadium of Light, no-one can take that away from them.”