Sunderland star reveals his pride at making full debut and vows to play without fear if chance comes again
Sunderland midfielder George Honeyman admitted the disappointment of losing 2-0 to Burnley outweighed the pride of making a full debut for his boyhood club.
The 22-year-old appeared in the senior side for the first time since the last day of the 2015/16 campaign, when he came on as a substitute in the 52nd minute against Watford at Vicarage Road.
While Honeyman was one of Sunderland’s brightest players in the FA Cup replay, he rued the lack of a defining contribution in the final third.
He said: “Obviously, making my full debut, it’s a good day for my family, but that’s at the back of my head at the minute (because of the result).
I’ve thought that it (the chance) might come for a few weeks now with the amount of injuries.
“I’ve been on the bench a lot and I’ve just tried to stay mentally ready. I was disappointed because I didn’t really had a positive impact on the game because we lost 2-0. But I’m just glad to get there and hopefully next time I can have more of a positive impact on the team.”
With Jack Rodwell likely to miss the trip to the Hawthorns on Saturday through injury, Honeyman is a strong contender to keep his place.
Moving the ball quickly and precisely at Turf Moor, especially in the first half, the youngster hopes to get the chance to show that playing without fear on the ball is a feature of his game.
He said: “I like to think that I don’t play with any fear, I like to try and get on the ball, just try and create a bit of positive energy, run about and help the lads as much as I can.
“We’ve not been on a great run so when I come in it can hopefully only get better, so you’ve got to look at it both ways really. That didn’t happen at Burnley but hopefully next time I can have a bigger impact.
“I hope to be involved in the next games. I don’t game into games thinking ‘I don’t want to do anything wrong’. I want to set up goals, score goals, make the team play.
“I didn’t really do any of those (at Burnley) so I am disappointed with that, but I worked as hard as I can and that’s what you’ll get all the time.
“If the manager sees fit to play me against West Brom, I’ll be more than happy to try and take my chance again.”
Rodwell’s injury is the latest blow to a Sunderland side struggling to keep their heads above the water.
Yet Honeyman is convinced that the experience in the squad of these situations will pull through eventually.
He said: “The boys have been in this situation before, obviously we’re in a tough patch with injuries, but there’s a few coming back and I’ve no doubt we’ll get a bit of momentum - a horrible, scrappy win somewhere and things will change.
“We’ve just got to keep the belief and I know it’s hard and everyone is sick of having this year after year but we’re in it now, we’ve just got to focus on the next game.”