Sunderland boss gives defensive injury update as youngster boosts international prospects

Trai Hume has bolstered his international hopes by continuing to shine in front of Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill.

O'Neill has attended Sunderland's two most recent home fixtures after being re-appointed to the job where he enjoyed such stunning success earlier in his career.

The 20-year-old, who won his first cap in March last year, has taken full advantage of Tony Mowbray's injury issues in defence to establish himself as a regular in the starting XI.

Hide Ad

Hume again excelled in the 2-0 win over Middlesbrough, and is even beginning to take up aggressive positions in midfield as Mowbray's attacking plans develop.

The Sunderland head coach said Hume was showing his quality after a frustrating first half of the season.

Read More
'Superb': Phil Smith's Sunderland player ratings after Middlesbrough win - inclu...
Hide Ad

"Trai is showing his quality and I know the national team manager has been watching him - he's done his chances no harm," Mowbray said.

"He's a really high quality player, you saw at times we rotated him into midfield because he can handle the ball and he looks forward when he gets it.

Hide Ad
Sunderland defender Trai Hume

"He passes forward, he's competitive and he smells danger. He's good in the air.... he's got his opportunity and he's grabbed it with both hands: what a talent he looks to be."

Hide Ad

Mowbray is hoping that his depth in defence will soon improve. Aji Alese returned to the starting XI on Sunday and while Lynden Gooch will be absent for around a fortnight with a hip problem, Niall Huggins and Dennis Cirkin are both believed to be close to making a return to full training.