“How many set pieces are we going to concede from this season?” Pondered a visibly upset George Honeyman after Sunderland failed to hold onto their slender one goal lead against Norwich on Monday night.
In an incredibly genuine interview with the club’s site, Honeyman displayed all the emotion and anguish a fan could wish to see in one of their own as he lamented another missed opportunity for Chris Coleman’s side to potentially find an escape from the clutches of relegation.
Watching the young midfielder struggle to hold back his frustration was both touching and reassuring. Honeyman might have had his detractors this season as some fans have been quick to highlight his shortcomings, yet not one of us can possibly argue against the academy product’s loyalty and determination.
Of course, that’s not the be all and end all of a football player, but it’s certainly a refreshing change from the usual platitudes uttered in the wake of disheartening results. Moving forward Honeyman will be an important player for us, and this interview was all the proof that was needed that the Prudhoe-born utility man will be an important figure for this club as it looks to overcome a plethora of life-threatening issues.
At times looking flustered, Honeyman was brutally honest with his assessment of our current situation:
Last four games, we should have won every game. We have taken five points and that is not enough at this stage of the season.
And that is only down to us, we can’t blame anyone else. If it was any other stage of the season there would be so many positives to take but all I care about is taking the three points.
Honeyman’s emotions were clearly on show as he offered his input on another performance filled with promise yet lacking in clinicality.
And he’s right. This squad can’t look anywhere else as scrutiny rains down from around them - this is their fault and they need to remedy their lacklustre mentality. Football is about winning and George clearly wants us to do just that.
Seven goals across all competitions isn’t too shabby for a youth product playing in his first full campaign for the club - especially when you consider our woeful form. Yet, rather than rest on his laurels content with his wages, Honeyman’s desire for success is clear for all to see. Failing to win hurts George a much as it hurts us, and players who truly understand that are a real rarity. Honeyman’s grit and ambition are there for all to see - and we need more players as emotionally invested in winning as he is.
People talk about players ‘getting a club’. George Honeyman certainly gets Sunderland. He understands the pressure and expectations placed upon him and his teammates, but doesn’t shirk from the challenge. Instead, he sounds desperate to make the fans proud of the team:
Everyone else lost on Tuesday night, it is good in reality but it makes it even more bitter because you are thinking it is another opportunity missed.
We have to dust ourselves down again and look to get the three points on Saturday but there is only so many times you can start saying it before it is too late.
George Honeyman might have struggled at times this season, but moving forward he’s going to be an important player for this club, whether people like it or not. He might not thrill every fan with mercurical abilities, yet he offers nothing but his all each and every time he steps on the pitch whilst also showing flashes of real talent.
Asked to play here, there and everywhere, the midfielder has taken to the field with no complaints and a battling energy. Yes, sometimes he’s wasteful, and yes sometimes he struggles, but ultimately he never hides and always looks to lift those around him.
Like George said about the loss, “that is only down to us, we can’t blame anyone else.” Sunderland need a squad full of grit, determination and belief. Honeyman and his fellow youngsters offer all of that and more.