Sunderland captain's tribute to 'incredibly strong' Grant Leadbitter after exceptional Portsmouth display
George Honeyman has paid tribute to Grant Leadbitter after the midfielder's exceptional display against Portsmouth.
Leadbitter returned to the starting XI at Fratton Park and played a pivotal role as Sunderland kept the clean sheet that sent them to Wembley.
The 33-year-old's mam had passed away 24 hours previous.
Honeyman had been aware of Leadbitter's loss before and the pair embraced at the final whistle.
"The strength of character that shows," Honeyman said.
"It's impossible for anyone to put themselves in his shoes, I don't think I could do it.
"For him to go out there, play as well as he did, he's an incredibly strong human.
"He showed that again and made his family very proud with the way he conducted himself and the way he played.
"He's got everyone's support here, I think he knows that. I was happy he was able to do what he felt was right, he's got everyone's support.
"It gives us even more motivation to go and out finish the job."
Leadbitter thanked fans after the game for their support.
Writing on Instagram, he said: "Last couple of days have been tough not just myself but my two sisters too.
"To lose my mam on Wednesday was horrible but I know now she is at peace after a tough battle with cancer.
"She now rests alongside my Dad. Life throws you curve balls and we all have to keep fighting.
"I wanted to play last night because my mam and dad would be disappointed if I didn't.
"Thanks for support and kind messages."