ONE of the Tyne Valley's most high profile professional footballers has opened up about the disappointment of leaving Sunderland, the club he had served since he was 10 years old.

George Honeyman, who started playing his junior football at Prudhoe Youth Club, came through the ranks at the Black Cats and was even made captain of the Wearsiders' first team.

However, like a bolt out of the blue, he was told he was no longer wanted at the club in 2019, and he went on to sign for Hull City.

The hard-working 26-year-old, who was educated at Prudhoe High School, revealed all during a podcast with Holly Hunt, of the Offside Rule.

He said: “I didn’t ever envisage it. I look back and I’m disappointed with how long it took me to come to terms with it. I thought I was stronger mentally than that, but I guess when you never really think about something and then it happens, it’s hard to adjust.

“If I’m being honest with myself I didn’t cope with that situation very well, but that’s gone now and there’s no point in thinking about that because it’s in the past.”

The midfielder, tough, has said he didn't have any regrets about the time he spent at Sunderland.

He said: “To be there for 13 years and end up as club captain, for any boy coming through the academy that’s a dream.”

Just before his move to the Tigers of Hull, Honeyman sustained a knee injury and he was out of action for over a month. And he struggled being away from his native North-East in the initial stages.

He said: "I really struggled until about Christmas time – I felt really unsettled here. There were a lot of different factors; I was living in a hotel, I didn’t have my family down, and I was in and out of the team because I’d signed for the club with an injury so I hadn’t been training.”

A breaking moment came for him when he requested a meeting with City manager Grant McCann where he asked for another chance to show what he could do.

The manager obliged, and Honeyman has been a big player for Hull ever since.

He said: "I don’t know what made me do it. In November, I hadn’t been training very well and was feeling sorry for myself. I asked to see the manager and normally when you’re not playing you ask to see the manager to find out why, but I basically apologised and said I hadn’t been myself. Since then, I haven’t looked back and I’ve gone from strength to strength. It’s not an easy thing to do but being honest with yourself, first and foremost, is the best way to overcome your problems.

“It didn’t really tie in with the club’s results but from Christmas, I started feeling a lot more like myself… I’ve felt in a good place for the last six months so I’m happy with where I am.”

The season ended sourly for Hull and, just like he had experienced the season before with Sunderland, Honeyman was part of the team which was relegated from the Championship to the League One.

His return to the Stadium of Light was around the corner as the Tigers were drawn against the Black Cats in the first round of the Carabao Cup, with Honeyman getting one up on his former employers as City came away as victors in a penalty shoot-out, the number 10 converting his effort from 12 yards.

Honeyman is hoping for a swift return to the Championship with Hull currently top of League One.