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Quick Kicks: Is Defoe's heart still in it? Ndong and Honeyman give us hope for the Championship

In today's Quick Kicks we mull over the main talking points coming out of yesterday's unexpected victory against Hull City. Has Jermain Defoe's heart already left Wearside? George Honeyman - is he beginning to prove his worth? And Didier Ndong's continued importance has been noted, so will he be a part of our squad in the Championship?

Hull City v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Heads Gone?

Whilst he may have bundled home a rather fortunate offside goal right at the end of the game, Jermain Defoe endured an afternoon filled with missed opportunities and although he worked hard for the team and his application cannot be faulted, the amount of simple chances he squandered was alarming.

I just wonder if his head is perhaps elsewhere right now. He's available for nothing in the summer due to our relegation and I have no doubt that he will have already been speaking to interested clubs and managers, so at this point he'll be fully aware that his next move is away from Wearside and is very much right around the corner. Like the rest of us, he seems to be just going through the motions, waiting for the season to end.

That said, he should leave us with his head held high and I will always regard him as a hero of mine. He's contributed regularly for us when we've been at our worst and even smashed home perhaps the greatest goal ever seen at the Stadium of Light with his winning volley against Newcastle in 2015. And of course, we cannot forget his amazing bond with young cancer victim Bradley Lowery, and the fact that he represented England - and scored - whilst a Sunderland player.

Hull City v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

It's just a shame that our relationship with him has to end soon. If we had been set for another season in the Premier League, I'm fairly confident that he would be going nowhere and would probably end up finishing his career at Sunderland, the place he's been idolised and appreciated more than perhaps at any other club he has played for in his long and successful career.

Such is life I suppose.


Ndong is Mr Consistent

Ndong, for me, has probably been our most consistent player over the entirety of this season and he's steadily improved in recent months, despite the team as a whole struggling massively.

The Gabon international completed 33 passes against Hull, which was more than any other Sunderland player on the day. He won four tackles, recovered ten loose balls and was generally a nuisence to the Hull midfield throughout, all whilst operating in a slightly deeper role alongside Jason Denayer.

Sunderland v Manchester United - Premier League Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

His work rate and energy is infectious and if he can add goals and assists to his game, he'll be a real asset to Sunderland in the future. His fee will likely put most clubs off targeting him in the summer and I think (hope) he's set for another year on Wearside at least.


Honeyman's performance was promising

Most of the talk coming out of this season will centre around which players will be leaving the club first. The likes of Didier Ndong and George Honeyman are likely going to forge a part of our squad in the Championship and the fact that both men had good games today should give us solace that not everything is going to be doom and gloom when we kick our first ball as a second tier club.

George Honeyman has only just started to get his chance as a first team player and he gave easily his best performance yet for the club against Hull. I love the way he always looks to receive the ball from our central midfielders and move it on quickly to an attacker - it seems such a simple thing but more often than not our players go into hiding and it's refreshing to see someone as young and inexperienced as Honeyman be so proactive, even if he's not quite yet the finished article.

It was his well-weighted delivery from a corner to John O'Shea (who, if you watch it back, instructed him exactly where to put it) which led to Sunderland's first goal and it's perhaps important to note that Honeyman took just about every set piece that we won whilst he was on the pitch. He completed 12 out of 14 passes in the attacking third - more than any other Sunderland player, despite playing for just 75 minutes. Ninety-two percent of his passes were accurate, a figure higher than any other Sunderland player.

Giving Honeyman games in the remaining time we have left in the Premier League is important because he'll be a part of the squad next season and is at the right age to be playing more regularly. He's also due a one year contract extension if he starts one more game this season - though rumour has it that he's looking for an improvement in his terms as he's now part of David Moyes' first team squad.

Whilst Honeyman will have his detractors - even my own opinion on him has fluctuated over recent weeks - I'm keen to let him stick around beyond the end of the season now that we know at least one year in the second tier beckons.