Trai Hume’s ‘fearless’ Northern Ireland debut as national boss delivers verdict on Sunderland man

Sunderland’s Trai Hume was “fearless” on his international debut – with Northern Ireland boss Ian Baraclough describing the Irish League youngster’s progress to a senior selection as “brilliant”. Hume has progressed through the age groups with Northern Ireland and has been included in the full squad for the first time this month, with the defender making his debut as a late substitute on Tuesday night in a short friendly loss to Hungary at Windsor Park and he came close to scoring the occasion with a goal.

The 20-year-old moved to Sunderland from Irish League side Linfield in January and has started two League One games so far, but his call-up shows his development is being watched closely by Baraclough. And the Northern Ireland manager compared Hume’s debut to that of young Liverpool defender Conor Bradley, who made his debut in May last year.

“Trai was fearless,” Baraclough said. “It was almost like another Conor Bradley when he first came in. No fear and he went to his man. He was also able to get on the end of a cross and the keeper had to parry one I also enjoyed when he was in possession as well.

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“Trai came on with ten minutes remaining and it’s hard to come into a game, let alone make a debut, but he went from the back, got a cross in and finished something at the far post. “

Hume replaced Arsenal defender Daniel Ballard – who is currently on loan at Millwall – for the final seven minutes of the game. Baraclough said: “I think it took Trai by surprise because when I looked at the subs he still had all his gear hot!

“I don’t think he expected to get along. I pointed at him and he said ‘me?’ I was like ‘come on’ I just told him ‘be confident’ and ‘be proactive’ I didn’t have any preconceived ideas about getting Trai off the bench, but for a young player just making his debut, where three months He was playing Irish League football a few years ago – brilliant.”

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