Gus Poyet claims golden oldie Wes Brown can play for Sunderland until he is 40.

Brown, 34, has been outstanding since returning in November after nearly two years out with a serious knee injury.

The centre-half will face his old club Manchester United at Old Trafford on Wednesday in the second leg of a Capital One Cup semi-final, and Poyet has been impressed with his form.

The Black Cats' boss played on until he was nearly 37 himself and reckons Brown could carry on for another six years.

“I would say if we keep playing the way we are playing, Wes could play with us until he is 40,” said Poyet. “He has a way of playing... there is a way of understanding the shape, how high up you play, plenty of things that influence the game. When you are so ahead of the game, if you keep yourself fit, you can go on.

“Does he want to play until he’s 40? I don’t think so, but maybe he will. You never know how much longer he’s going to play because if the body does too much he might break down. But every time he’s all right, he plays.”

Poyet feels former England international Brown has become streetwise as he has got older.

“I think at the age of 27, 28, you should know everything,” said the Uruguayan. “If you don’t, you are not good enough. From then on you just play with the mind, with cleverness and intelligence.”