Wickham, who spent time on loan at both Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United this season, scored two goals as the Black Cats held Manchester City to a 2-2 draw on Wednesday, but Poyet claims that he has no regrets about not using the striker earlier in the campaign.
"Should I have played him more? If you ask me now, it is easy to say yes but four months ago, I would probably have said no," the Uruguayan told members of the media.
"He has many qualities but he hasn't always used them in the right way.
"But maybe his time is now. Maybe he needed to go through that spell for him to stand up."
Wickham is expected to keep his place in the team for Saturday's game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.