Trai Hume, Sunderland’s often-moustachioed man at right back, racked up his fiftieth appearance for the Lads during last Tuesday’s narrow defeat to Leicester before following that up with a goal yesterday against Norwich.
A steady and constantly improving player, Hume has become one of the more reliable figures in the side.
His development from a youth player on the fringes of the team to a quality Championship full back has been interesting, and it’s a path that several of our players have walked in recent years. Simply put, it’s the route of a player who represents a major success story for our current recruitment structure.
Signed midway through the 2021/2022 season, Hume was very much marked as ‘one for the future’ after joining from Linfield.
After making just a handful of appearances during our promotion campaign, he played almost the whole of the second half of last season. His performances have improved over recent weeks and months and he’s become one of the first names on Tony Mowbray’s team sheet.
There have also been bumps in the road along the way, and Hume has made some costly mistakes and rash decisions. However, he’s come back and showed signs of improvement each time this has happened, to a point where we’d be weaker without him.
His progress at Sunderland so far is a shining example of our new way of working.
He was signed for less than £250,000 in what was one of our first real data/youth-orientated signings. It was never expected that he would walk straight into the side and that wasn’t the case initially, but once he took the chance, he’s had a strong hold on a starting position ever since, and rightly so.
Hume certainly wasn’t immune to the mixing and matching that was required to get us through to the end of the 2022/2023 season.
When injuries robbed us of several starting centre backs, he stepped in alongside Luke O’Nien and helped to reignite our playoff push last April, bagging a huge first goal in the 2-1 win against Birmingham.
The Sunderland blueprint nowadays is to sign promising young players, develop them, and if the time comes, sell them on for a considerable profit.
Hume fits neatly into this process and by signing a new deal, we’ll be seeing plenty more of him over the next few seasons, or we’ll sell him for a handsome profit.
As frustrating as it may be at times, our club is being run very well at the moment, and Hume is a shining example. He’ll hopefully be the first of many who either makes himself a household name on Wearside, or eventually moves on for a large amount of money which can be reinvested into the squad.
Hume’s character and personality have made him a popular figure at the Stadium of Light, and it looks as though he’s got a great career ahead of him, both for his club and country.
Having him as part of a relatively settled defence is good for all involved and as he clocks fifty games, here’s to at least another fifty more!