Chris Coleman: Sunderland must rebuild with players who have George Honeyman’s mentality

George Honeyman makes a break against QPR. Picture by Frank Reid
George Honeyman makes a break against QPR. Picture by Frank Reid
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Chris Coleman has heaped praise on Sunderland midfielder George Honeyman and said he has as good an attitude as he has ever seen in professional football.

Honeyman came closer than anyone to snatching an unlikely point for Sunderland at QPR on Saturday, seeing an effort blocked as he pushed his team forwards during a difficult second half.

The midfielder was restored to the starting Xi after a short spell on the bench and Coleman said that it is around players like him that the club can build for the future, regardless of whether they stay in the Champ-ionship.

Coleman said: “I’ve been in professional football for 30 years as a player and a manager and, in terms of mentality, I’ve not seen anything better than him.

“He’s a huge, huge personality, desperate to play football, desperate to play for Sunderland Football Club.

“These times are tough, but, honestly, he’ll be much better at the end of it, because he’s one of those players who’s a chip off the old block.

“It bothers him for days if he plays badly. If he’s not playing, he’s devastated.

“It’s all about the game, all about playing for Sunderland.

“His input on the game (at QPR) was brilliant, his energy and his enthusiasm and personality were absolutely great.

“He deserved something, but you don’t always get what you deserve, I know.

“Do you know what, you could build around him if we were in the league above,” Coleman added.

“They don’t grow on trees, George Honeyman.

“If we were in the Premier League and I was standing here I would say, ‘We can build around George Honeyman’. He’s that type of boy. He still young, he hasn’t played 50 games yet. He’s a top, top boy.”

Coleman revealed that John O’Shea played through the pain barrier to feature and hopes he will again be available for the visit of Preston this weekend. Jake Clarke-Salter will return from suspension to boost Coleman’s options.

Coleman said of O’Shea: “He had to play. He’s struggling, he had to have an injection to play the game but John knows where we are and he’s had to play the game for us because we needed him.

“At least now he’s got a bit longer to rest before the next one and hopefully there won’t be too much of an impact from the (thigh) injury he’s got and there’ll be a good reaction. We needed him on the pitch.”