Trai Hume makes first start in Sunderland colours as Arbenit Xhemajli also features for U23s

Trai Hume will make his first appearance in Sunderland colours today after being named in the under-23s team this afternoon.

The right-back signed for Sunderland at the beginning of the window but has yet to make his first-team debut.

Arbenit Xhemajli also starts for the under-23s who face Middlesbrough on Teesside this afternoon.

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The Black Cats paying a six-figure sum to sign Hume, a talented right back from Linfield.

LURGAN, NORTHERN IRELAND - NOVEMBER 18: Erkan Akalp of Germany compete for the ball with Trai Hume of Northern Ireland during the u19 international friendly match between Germany and Northern Ireland on November 18, 2019 in Lurgan, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images for DFB)

The 19-year-old did travel to Wycombe Wanderers with Sunderland as they drew 3-3 in a pulsating encounter, with a COVID-19 and injury-hit squad almost leading to a postponement.

Johnson has high hopes for Hume, who signed a four-and-a-half year deal with the option of a further year with the player making Sunderland’s bench against Accrington Stanley.

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But Johnson says Sunderland have to be careful with the youngster, who will need time to understand the playing philosophy better before he is exposed to League One football.

"It's a big jump for the lad," the head coach said.

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"There's a lot of detail with our philosophy.

"We've got to be careful with that one. I like him a lot and he's got some amazing attributes.

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"He's one for the future that could probably surprise us for now, but he's got to settle, understand the philosophy, get that trust with his team-mates.

"It wasn't the day for him today.

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"He's had a day-and-a-half of training.

'I wanted him to the experience and the matchday environment.

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"He's got self-belief, focus and he's a hungry kid.

"There's going to be an opportunity at some point and he'll be thrown in, but it's just not yet [time]."

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