Sunderland boss opens up on why he gave George Honeyman the armband and his performances this season

Jack Ross believes George Honeyman's intensity, energy and passion for the club makes him the ideal captain for Sunderland.

Thursday, 20th September 2018, 8:54 pm
Updated Thursday, 20th September 2018, 8:57 pm
Sunderland skipper George Honeyman pictured with Max Power.

The 24-year-old academy product was a surprise choice to be handed the armband by Ross when he took charge this summer, ahead of more experienced members of the squad.

Honeyman has been an ever-present for Sunderland in League One and has only missed the Checkatrade Trophy game against Stoke City U21s after being rested.

Sunderland manager Jack Ross.

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The Scot did, though, stress that Honeyman - like every other member of the squad - has to continue to perform to ensure they make his starting line-up.

"I did my homework on the players' abilities but wanted to find out their characters for myself, what they were like as people," said Ross, when asked why he selected Honeyman as skipper.

"Every player I took as a I found them. What I found in George is a young man who trains brilliantly every day, what he gives you in terms of his intensity and his energy and effort in training is fantastic.

"He has come through the academy and has a genuine feel and passion for the club. He is also a mature young man and he welcomed the responsibility.

"He had it in pre-season and responded really well, so he fits in a number of ways. Also, where we were as a club, it felt appropriate, though that wasn't the main reason."

The Sunderland boss was speaking on BBC Radio Newcastle, were he took part in a Q&A with supporters.

"He has had to play a lot of different positions. My own thoughts, his forward runs and energy, for me, makes him most effective in that middle to front area. We have had to chop and change systems.

"From taking on the captaincy and that responsibility, you become a figurehead and naturally one that becomes more likely to be criticised.

"You speak to people around the club and they speak to me about Jordan Henderson, when he was at the club as a player and got some criticism for his performances and yet now he is probably perceived in a totally different way given his success with Liverpool and England.

"George knows how supportive I am in terms of his role but equally he is no different to any other player and needs to perform to a certain level to stay in the team but he has done well for me."