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Sunderland: Trai Hume could be Lynden Gooch’s heir

Sunderland have adapted well to the challenge of playing Championship football again after four years away from the second tier of English football.

The Black Cats had been stuck in League One since the start of the 2018/19 campaign and finally won promotion via the play-offs last season. They are currently 14th in the table after 16 matches and four points clear of the relegation zone, although they have lost three of their last four games.

Sunderland have retained a strong core of players who helped them to win promotion from the third tier, and one such player who has been a regular again is right wing-back Lynden Gooch.

The American has started 14 of the club’s 16 league matches in 2022/23 after playing 41 times in League One last season for Lee Johnson and Alex Neil combined.

Gooch has made 2.3 tackles and interceptions and 0.6 key passes per game in the Championship, which shows that he is bombing up and down the flank to make an impact at both ends of the pitch.

He is out of contract at the end of next season and turns 27 later this year. This means that Sunderland could start to think about what life may look like after Gooch, whether that is down to the club outgrowing him or the full-back deciding to move on to pastures new.

However, Tony Mowbray could already have the heir to the 26-year-old’s throne at right wing-back in 20-year-old Northern Irish gem Trai Hume.

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Sunderland striker Ross Stewart in action

Starting off easy... who was Sunderland's top scorer in 2021/22?

The defender joined Sunderland in January and could be the long-term successor to Gooch in that position. He has already been called up by his country at international level and has been handed a smattering of chances in the Black Cats’ first team throughout 2022, playing eight times so far.

Journalist Josh Bunting hailed him as “excellent” against Burnley at the weekend and previously claimed that the gem “deserves” a run of games in the team to prove himself.

Is Hume a future Sunderland star?

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He showed signs of promise against the Clarets as he won eight of his 13 ground duels and made five tackles and two clearances throughout the game.

Hume has also shown attacking intent previously in his career as he racked up five goals and five assists in 34 appearances for Ballymena United, which shows that the potential is there for him to make an impact at the top end of the pitch.

Couple that with the strong defending that he showed against Burnley and there is a player there with the scope to develop into Gooch’s natural heir at right-back or right wing-back.

Article title: Sunderland: Trai Hume could be Lynden Gooch’s heir

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