McClean was dropped to the bench for five out of six games during October and November before resuming his role in the starting XI at Norwich City last month.
Stephane Sessegnon (talking to the Sunderland Echo): “James has done well recently.
“He’s playing with confidence now, and that’s good for him and for the team too.
“He’s someone who can be a really important player for us, as he showed last season.
“It was a difficult start to the season for him, but he always gave everything, and now he’s getting rewards.
“When he broke into the side last season, it all seemed so easy for him.
“Perhaps it was a bit tougher at the start of this year.
“But he’s showing again that he’s a really good young player, and hopefully he can continue like that.
“Everyone knows that he’s a quality player, and that doesn’t go away.
“That’s what he showed last season.”