The 19-year-old liked what he saw as Lee Johnson’s side regularly opened up their opponents while also showing off their attacking prowess to go – briefly – to the top of Ligue 1.
“They are a very offensive team and they love to play,” Hume told Sunderland’s website a few days later, after signing with Linfield, the Northern Ireland Premiership team, on a four-year contract. and half.
“Every time they get the ball the first thought is a forward pass, a breakout and a goal scout. I like the way they play.
“I like to go forward I’m a right back so I have to defend but I like to go forward and create things so the way this team is playing is good [for me].
“I’m Northern Irish so I like tackling, we all do it, but I like putting the ball in and moving forward. But I’m also happy to do the dirty work.”
It all looks hugely promising, although it has also been said that Hume has an “excellent mentality” and flourished in big games during his young career.
Obviously, moving from Northern Ireland, playing in front of an average crowd of 2,500, to a club the size of Sunderland will be a significant step forward, but the people of Wearside (other established clubs were also following the player). ) clearly feel that Hume has the attributes and the mentality to be successful in England.
Rating of time spent by Hume at Linfield
Following a loan spell at Ballymena United last season, Hume has become a regular at Northern Ireland champions Linfield this campaign.
In 17 league appearances, the teenager has scored three goals, scoring twice with a header straight from corners.
Although not the greatest player on the Sunderland squad, Hume is clearly a threat in the air and has been regularly told to go ahead on set pieces at Linfield.
Stats bolster the defender’s aerial abilities, with Hume winning 56.9% of his aerial duels this season, with several occurring in the opposing penalty area.
Hume’s other goal this quarter came from open play in last month’s 1-1 draw against Linfield’s arch rivals Glentoran.
The right-back sensed an opportunity to break through (Figure 1) and arrived late at the back post to convert Matthew Clarke’s cross.
An attack instinct
As Hume’s heat map (Figure 2) shows in this game against Glentoran, the full-back likes to venture into opposition territory where he can pose an offensive threat.
This season, Hume has averaged 1.17 shots per game for Linfield, while he is also able to cut inside when he receives the ball from the right side.
Figure three is a screenshot of Linfield’s 1-1 draw against Cliftonville in October.
After just five minutes, Hume was selected on the flank before cutting inside his full-back and recording an early shot on goal. While the effort was comfortably spared, it showed the teenager to be comfortable both ways.
One area Hume will need to improve is his crossover accuracy, especially when he has to help supply Sunderland top scorer Ross Stewart.
This season, the teenager has averaged 2.67 crosses per game, but has recorded just a 25% accuracy figure.
Still, that desire to move his team forward and move up the pitch is something Sunderland boss Lee Johnson will appreciate.
At just 19, the full-back energy and athleticism is evident.
Defensively, Hume will be tested a lot more against opponents from League One, but – as he said in his interview – he “likes tackles”.
The player’s defensive stats at Linfield show he’s not just an enthusiastic full-back, with Hume winning 69.1% of his defensive games in the league this season and averaging 4.68 steals per game.
Where will Hume fit into Sunderland?
The right-back is one area where Sunderland was expected to strengthen this month.
Carl Winchester held the post at the start of the campaign but has been moved to center midfield in recent weeks, as he also missed the team’s last two games with a blow.
Niall Huggins’ summer signing remains on the sidelines, meaning Bailey Wright admirably filled the right side of the defense against Doncaster and Sheffield on Wednesday.
Wright’s experience and versatility meant Sunderland was able to go from a back four to a back three with relative ease, while the Australia international provided ample defensive cover for Leon Dajaku on the right.
Clearly, however, Johnson would prefer to have more offensive outlets in wide stances – his team succeeded when Winchester and Dennis Cirkin supplied sacks of energy from the full-back earlier in the campaign.
Due to the injury setbacks, whether Sunderland is playing with a third or a fourth, there appears to be a void that Hume could fill.
That’s not to say the Northern Irishman will be the squad’s regular right-back for the remainder of the season, but you can expect him to at least play a role given Johnson enjoys working with him. a smaller and more united team.
Winchester’s role is likely to be a big factor in the playing time Hume receives by the end of the season, and that may depend on Sunderland’s decision to sign another central midfielder this month. .
As far as Hume is concerned, the first reports and sound clips seem encouraging. After signing a four-and-a-half-year contract, he appears to be a long-term asset for the Black Cats.