Freddie Woodman's ready to step up to the Premier League, according to Steve Harper.
Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez lost goalkeeper Rob Elliot to a season-ending knee injury this week.
And Benitez, also without No 1 Tim Krul, will field Karl Darlow in goal against Norwich City on Saturday.
Woodman, 19, will be on the bench at Carrow Road.
However, Sunderland goalkeeper Harper – who spent two decades at St James's Park and trained alongside Woodman – feels the England Under-19 international is a serious option for Benitez, despite his lack of experience.
"Darlow's played a lot more league action than Freddie, but Freddie's got a big, big future," Harper told Talksport.
"He's done very well and has a fantastic attitude, really driven, works his socks off.
"It's a big call. People would assume he'd go with Darlow given his experience, but Freddie could handle it, believe me.
"He is destined for a big future. Whether you throw him in at this time of the season ... that's not my decision."
Woodman – who was recalled from a loan spell at Crawley Town after Krul suffered a season-ending knee injury in October – helped England's Under-19s qualify for the European Championships this week.