Sunderland midfielder, George Honeyman, is not only the club captain and academy graduate. At 24-years-old, he has also become an example to every player that is part of that same youth set-up, that helped nurture his talent, to get him to where he is now.
With the experienced players at manager, Jack Ross’s disposal — like Lee Cattermole, Grant Leadbitter and Aiden McGeady — it is testament to his leadership qualities and respect he has among his teammates, that he is skipper of the side at such a young age.
Speaking to the Chronicle, he knows how lucky he is, and the “massive privilege” he feels at his position at the Stadium Of Light, and how much he appreciates the help and support those senior players have given him.
He said: “It’s a massive privilege and I am very lucky to have the support network of Grant (Leadbitter), Lee (Cattermole), Glenn (Loovens) has been a massive help. All the lads have. Aiden (McGeady), Max (Power), the list goes on.
“I am so lucky because I feel like I have got so much respect. I have seen it in the past where players don’t give anyone respect in the dressing room.
Honeyman is Sunderland through and through. If he cuts himself, there is sure to be white stripes running through his blood.
But he has had to work to get the crowd behind him, particularly after he was said to want to leave after the club’s relegation to League One, with fans quick to fire back at him.
Honeyman is nowhere near as good as he thinks he is.
— Sunderland Lurve (@SunderlandLurv) June 21, 2018
He’s horrendous, scored some tap ins when we were 3 and 4 down and thinks he’s good because of that!
— daniel rae (@dannyveng) June 22, 2018
He’s league one at best .just a shame a local lad doesn’t want to help out his team
— Greg Cleminson (@gregclem73) June 22, 2018
It is to his credit that he got his head down, played his football, and has one the doubting fans over, and will lead his side out at Wembley on Sunday.
But for a short while, he was not sure he would be, having received a red card at Wycombe, which left the player unsure that he would be eligible to play in the EFL Checkatrade Trophy final at all.
He described his subsequent relief when he was cleared to play, when he told the Sunderland Echo: “It was a bit of a surreal moment, in the changing room by myself [after being sent off].
“It was five minutes later that I actually calmed down and started to think about the consequences.
“The relief that I can play at Wembley, I’m extremely lucky at how it has worked out and I can’t wait to try and take the opportunity.”
Honeyman has done a remarkable job as captain, and has become key to Ross’s side, and promotion hopes.
It was not wrong for the lad to have belief in his ability, and that he considers himself to have the skills to play at Championship or Premier League level.
What was wrong, was that he did not have the faith that he can achieve those aspirations at Sunderland.
But he has obviously had the right people around him, who have had a word in his ear, and he has listened to them and got on with his job.
It remains to be seen what will happen if Sunderland do not go up this season. But no one connected with the club is thinking about that right now.
What are your thoughts regarding George Honeyman, Sunderland fans? Is he the right man to wear the captain’s armband? Let us know…
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