Sunderland left-back Denver Hume has revealed that he always savoured games against Manchester United at youth level and once even found himself up against Marcus Rashford.
The 22-year-old has been sidelined for much of the season due to injury but is nearing a potential return with his side approaching the business end of the League One season.
A product of the Black Cats academy system, Hume really started to establish himself in the first team last term but was a regular in the age-group sides before that.
Speaking to the club website, the defender discussed his memories of coming through at the Stadium of Light – with particular reference to Rashford and United.
He said: “There were a lot of occasions I look back on with good memories coming through the academy. We had a very good U18s team, and we gave good games to some of the best sides in the country. I grew up a Man United fan because my older brother supported them, and so I always enjoyed playing against them.
“We played an U21s game at Old Trafford and I was up against Marcus Rashford, and we used to face Man City, Chelsea… the very best. We reached a European final at the Stadium of Light then too and faced FC Porto – about 15-20k fans came to watch.”
Hume was the clear first choice up until his hamstring injury, which came 32 minutes into Lee Johnson’s first game in charge.
Wrestling that spot back may not be easy with Callum McFadzean and January arrival Jake Vokins now at the club.
Having Hume back fit will be a boost in Sunderland’s League One promotion push, with Johnson’s side currently two points back from the top two.
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It’s interesting to get this insight from Hume about his academy days.
Sunderland supporters will be hoping that the defender will be facing off with players of Rashford’s quality in senior football soon, with the impact of the arrival of Johnson and the new owner already clear to see.
It’s far too early to think about the prospect of Premier League football though and the focus first needs to be on winning promotion to the Championship.