`

Joel Asoro reveals why George Honeyman should have scooped award and tips him to be Sunderland skipper

Joel Asoro celebrates his goal. Picture by Frank Reid.
Joel Asoro celebrates his goal. Picture by Frank Reid.

Joel Asoro has tipped George Honeyman to be a future Sunderland captain – and admitted he would have awarded him the young player of the year gong.

Sunderland endured a desperate 2017-18 campaign with the club relegated to the third tier of English football.

One of the few positives from this campaign has been the emergence of a strong core of younger players, with Honeyman establishing himself in the first team with 45 appearances.

Swedish teenager Asoro, who scored three goals in 29 appearances, was crowned young player of the year at the Supporters’ Association Player of the Year awards.

But while modest Asoro – yet to sign a new contract – was delighted to win the award he was quick to praise the impact of Honeyman for his determination and drive for the Sunderland cause.

“George has done great work this season. He has been amazing, to have played well over 30 games is amazing for a young player – you don’t expect that from a young player,” said 19-year-old Asoro.

“If I could pick the prize, I would have given it to him, to be honest!

“He has played almost every game, he keeps trying to win every game and he could be a future captain for Sunderland one day.”

Out-of-contract Sunderland skipper John O’Shea picked up the main supporters’ award, with Asoro the young player.

Asoro added: “I was surprised [to win the award]. It is the fans that awarded it – you don’t really expect it because of the season we’ve had, but I am very thankful for them doing it.

“You don’t think about awards, I just wanted to get some game time, that is always at the forefront of my mind. Then, when you do what you do on the pitch, the fans always have your back, even through the hard times, they still love you. I really appreciate the support.”

Promising youngsters Asoro and Josh Maja are yet to put pen to paper on new deals offered to them, with their current contracts due to run out in the summer of 2019.