JACK COLBACK confesses he is his own worst critic when it comes to analysing performances, but the Sunderland midfielder admits Martin O'Neill's recent praise has given him a huge confidence boost ahead of tomorrow's FA Cup quarter-final.
Colback was an admirable performer last weekend when he delivered a strong display to keep Liverpool midfield duo Steven Gerrard and Charlie Adam quiet.
That performance prompted positive comments from O'Neill, but the boss admitted his young midfielder lacked self-belief despite having unquestionable talent.
Colback is quick to agree with his new manager, admitting to dissecting his own performances, but the Killingworth lad reveals O'Neill's man-management has already had a great effect.
Having made climbed up the table since he was appointed in December, a lot has been made of the influence O'Neill has had and Colback lifted the lid on exactly how he seems to be getting the most out of his players.
"He tells you straight, tells you exactly what he feels," Colback said. "He knows a lot about the game and he has been around for years so you trust what he says and it has rubbed off on a lot of people.
"I think he does it in his own way. He treats everyone like they're his best mate and that's why he gets so much out of people. You know how much he wants it and that comes out in him. You just want to do well for him."
He added: "I spoke to him the week before (Liverpool) so it was not a surprise he said that in the papers, because he said the same to my face.
"For me it can't come from anyone better than the manager giving you confidence and compliments. It's always good and it's always good to see him saying the same things in the press.
"It is something I agree with because I have always lacked that complete belief in myself, but the gaffer has brought that out of me more and the more I play the more I will believe in my own ability and the more I will grow in confidence.
"I have always been tough on myself and been my toughest critic. Even when I've had a bad game, my dad will say, 'you've done well son', but I know when I have had a bad game and even if we have won and played well, I will go through all the little passes that have gone astray over in my head.
"You have to be like that. If you start thinking you have made it and you don't realise when you are not playing well."
With Lee Cattermole serving a four-match ban, Colback will get another chance to impress O'Neill when Sunderland travel to Everton tomorrow.
Colback watched the competition growing up and despite recent suggestions that the competition has lost its excitement, the midfielder believes it is still a trophy players want to win.
He said: "I remember watching the FA Cup when I was younger and it seemed to have a bit more about it then.
"A few people now have taken the shine off it but it is a massive competition for me and great to be playing in it.
"I've never been to Wembley so it would be another good reason to get through personally, the chance to play there which a lot of players don't get the chance to do.
"It's always been massive competition in my eyes and to be playing in it now is a great experience and one I am relishing."