The 19 year-old struggled to come by first team chances at Stamford Bridge and opted to drop down into the Championship in order to get some regular football.
The England Under-21 international has had a big impact at the north-east club, helping them to climb the table and they go into this weekend's round of fixtures in second place.
The youngster has undoubted talent and vision which has seen him progress through the youth academy at Chelsea, and he believes that a season at the Riverside will help to develop other areas of of his game.
"There's players in the Championship who will smash you if you aren't on your toes, so playing in this division can only make me stronger," he said.
"I think I've become stronger mentally as well as physically.
"It's a tough, physical league and it can only make you stronger and fitter."