How Denver Hume silenced his critics after being handed a Sunderland recall
This was arguably one of the biggest tests of Denver Hume’s professional career.
Left out the side for three games on the bounce - all of which ended in wins for the Black Cats - the young full-back had a point to prove as he was recalled to the side against AFC Wimbledon.
Having come in for criticism from some quarters after a shaky start to the season, his recall placed the 21-year-old under level of scrutiny he perhaps hadn’t experienced before.
But it was dealt with admirably, as Hume put in a mature and - most vitally - effective performance.
In truth, Wimbledon were far from the best side Sunderland will go up against this season. Hume was rarely tested but, on the odd occasion skipper Scott Wagstaff got a sniff of an opportunity, it was quickly snuffed out.
The Dons’ 5-3-2 shape handed Hume plenty of scope to get forward, and these opportunities were taken to great effect.
His drive to get forward and support Aiden McGeady was admirable, but at no point did he look suspect at the back.
Indeed, he was arguably unlucky to end the game without having chalked up at least one assist.
A jinking run just before the half hour mark saw him burst into the box and deserved much more than the thumping clearance it received.
Then as the hour mark approached, Hume left the experienced Wagstaff on his backside before drilling in a cross which ricocheted over the crossbar.
It was the kind of delivery that defenders hate and attackers relish - and the kind Sunderland have been deprived of in the early weeks of the season.
For now, at least, the youngster looks to have reclaimed his place from Conor McLaughlin, and is surely now in-line to start at Burnley in midweek.
And while Hume’s solid showing is unlikely to change Ross’ transfer plans - with a left-back still set to arrive in the near future - it may have silenced some of his doubters ahead of a campaign in which he looks set to receive more than his fair share of chances