Sunderland reserves coach Keith Bertschin says the loan system is great for their young players.
Bertschin says the cadre of youngsters who spent time out on loan during the 2010-11 campaign have been enriched by their experience.
Young midfielder Liam Noble made 24 appearances for Carlisle and played in a Wembley final, Oumare Tounkara played 46 times for Oldham, Michael Liddle was a regular for Gateshead while Jordan Cook garnered valuable experience in an ultimately successful relegation battle at Walsall.
All have now returned to the fold and the reserve-team boss says they'll be better players for their time away from Wearside.
"The lads have told me how much they've enjoyed their loans and how much they've learned," he explained to safc.com.
"It takes them away from that safety net here in Sunderland to actually realise what's going on out there.
"That's an important learning curve for them. Hopefully it goes towards rounding them off to be as good as they can possibly be."