Manager Jack Ross has named George Honeyman as Sunderland AFC’s new club captain.
The dynamic midfielder, who replaces John O’Shea, becomes the first homegrown player to be handed the armband on a permanent basis since Michael Gray over a decade ago.
Since breaking into the first team during the 2016-17 season, Honeyman has been a shining example to those around him and his tireless performances have made him a fan-favourite on Wearside.
Displaying grit, determination and leadership every single time he crosses the white line, Ross explained why the midfielder was a natural fit for the role.
“George’s attitude towards training on a daily basis is absolutely fantastic,” he said.
“What he has is an absolute feel for this club because he’s come through the academy, but he’s also suffered, as a lot of people have through the past couple of years, and it bothers him.”
He added: “He wants to help take the club forward and there’s no better way for him to do that than by being a successful captain.
“He’s a mature and intelligent young man, and his energy levels and application in games will be a major asset for us, so I’m delighted he’s wanted to take on the responsibility.”
Honeyman joined the club at the age of 10 and quickly rose through the ranks at the Academy of Light, breaking into the under-18 set-up during the 2010-11 season.
Two years later, he stepped up to under-23 level and quickly forged a reputation as one to watch, with his first-team debut coming in an FA Cup tie against Bradford City in 2015.
Since then, Honeyman has stuck to his task and cemented his place within the senior fold, with the midfielder making more appearances than any other player last season.
Speaking about the captaincy, he explained why he will do everything within his power to bring success back to the Stadium of Light.
“When the manager pulled me in and told me the news, it was without a doubt the best moment of my career so far.
“I’ve used the word ‘surreal’ a lot since I broke into the first team a couple of years ago, but this really means the world to me and I can’t wait for the season to start on Saturday.”
He continued: “I’m incredibly proud, not only for myself but for my family.
“This is just a small repayment for the number of journeys my parents made when I was little, and for all the times we went back and forth to training and games.
“I’ll do everything I can to make sure we’re celebrating something at the end of the season, as that will be the moment I’ve dreamed of since I came to the club all those years ago.”