The Irishman played only 38 minutes of League One football in Sunderland’s first eight games of the season and there were suggestions that he could leave the club on loan in the summer.


However, O’Brien has turned things around at the Stadium of Light recently, starting in each of Sunderland’s last four league games and finding the back of the net once.



Former Sunderland skipper Bennett has been impressed with O’Brien this season and has admitted that he did not see such quality from the winger last term.


Bennett explained that O’Brien has caught his eye in the current campaign and went on to heap praise on him for his ball retention, hold up play and awareness to bring other players into the game.



I’ll tell you one player who has caught my eye and – it is Aiden O’Brien“, Bennett said on BBC Radio Newcastle’s Sunderland podcast.


I’ll tell you what he has got some ability the boy.



For some reason, it is coming out [this season], I didn’t see it last season.


But this season, his retention, his awareness to bring other players into the game, his hold up play has been good.


He has caught my eye this season when he has been playing.


Bennett also insisted that O’Brien should be a regular starter for Lee Johnson’s side on current form.


At the present moment, I think he is a player who is going to be starting week in week out“, Bennett added.


I know there are questions is he going to be on the bench, is he going to start.


I think at the present moment, the form he is in, he is always going to start because his link-up play and his awareness are good.


Apart from his performances in the league, O’Brien has scored four goals and provided two assists from four appearances across the EFL Cup and EFL Trophy.