Tony Mowbray gives insight into emotional conversation with Sunderland fringe player | OneFootball

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·4 October 2022

Tony Mowbray gives insight into emotional conversation with Sunderland fringe player

Article image:Tony Mowbray gives insight into emotional conversation with Sunderland fringe player

Trai Hume has struggled for regular game time since leaving Linfield for Sunderland last January, the 20-year-old still has time on his side but remains on the fringes under Tony Mowbray.

Niall Huggins is set to return from injury at some point this season, and that occurrence will only add to the competition for places in the right back position.

Hume is finding it difficult to displace Lynden Gooch at the moment and was clearly disappointed not to make the matchday squad in the Black Cats’ goalless draw at home to Preston North End on Saturday.

Mowbray offered a fascinating insight into his man management of Hume when he spoke to ChronicleLive.

He said: “I had a long chat yesterday with Trai Hume the other day.

“He didn’t make the 18 on Saturday and I can see the disappointment in his eyes.

“He’s done nothing wrong, he is working really hard in training, and he has just come back from international duty with Northern Ireland, yet he doesn’t even get on the bench.

“I can feel the sadness so I pull him in my office, have a sit down and a cup of tea and a chat.

“What do I say? I’m very conscious that I don’t ever want to come out with manager-spiel.

“I started life as a young player and I’ve had every manager tell me to just keep working hard and you’ll come on and get your chance.

“It feels at the moment that he can’t see his chance, but I’d say ‘this is football, it’s a competition within a competition and you have to compete with your teammates to get in this team’.

“When your chance comes, you have to be ready.

“You can’t say to me ‘I haven’t played for eight weeks’.

“You have to be ready, and then it’s the other guy who is moaning that he can’t get back in the team.

“If you don’t get an opportunity and the player in your position never gets injured, you have to knock on my door in January and say ‘gaffer, I need to play football, I’m 19 and I want to play, I’m an international player and I want to play.’

“Then we’ll assess it and see what’s right for you and what’s right for the club, and potentially find a loan.

“But let’s hope you’re in the team and it’s Goochy (Lynden Gooch) knocking on my door asking why he can’t get in the team, and I’m saying ‘Trai is in the team, we’ve kept four clean sheets on the bounce and he’s assisted three goals – I can’t change that mate’.”

The signing clearly came with a long term view and Hume remains a first team project, but if Huggins does come in and rise above him in the pecking order, a loan move should be considered in January.

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Hume has four years remaining on his contract on Wearside, and for that reason it is in the club’s best interests to prioritise his development.

Being involved on the international stage can only be seen as a positive at the moment, giving potential loan destinations the chance to assess his skillset before making an enquiry.

Gooch has been a revelation at full back in the last six months or so, making possibly a premature position change in his career, but the 26-year-old has improved unrecognisably in the defensive side of his game and has been one of the club’s most consistent performers.

Barring an injury to Gooch, it is tough to see Hume earning an extended run this season.

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