George Honeyman: Sunderland need to "earn the right" to be considered for Premier League promotion

Sunderland AFC youngster George Honeyman has stated that The Black Cats will need to "earn the right" to gain promotion back to the Premier League.

However the midfielder believes that the return of the likes of Duncan Watmore and Paddy McNair will be a "big boost" to their chances.

We want to bounce straight back up

The emergence of Honeyman was one of few bright spots in what proved to be another miserable season for the Black Cats, as the 22-year-old broke into David Moyes' first-team and made ten senior appearances throughout the campaign.

However the luck had finally ran out for the Wearsiders as they were relegated after a ten-season stint in the top-flight, with their relegation resulting in Moyes leaving his post after just a season in charge.

Sunderland will go down into the Championship as one of the strong contenders for promotion due to the club's size and the quality of their squad.

But Honeyman has warned against complacency, insisting that they will need to earn the right to be considered good enough to make a return to the Premier League.

"We want to bounce straight back and I don’t see any reason why we can’t," Honeyman told "But we can’t take anything for granted and we have to earn the right to be back in the Premier League."

"We have a fast start to the season," he added. "And we have to be ready for it."

Big boost to get them back into the squad

One of the major factors in Sunderland's demise was the amount of injuries that they sustained, including many season-ending injuries, and two of those unlucky enough to pick them up were McNair and Watmore.

The Northern Ireland international picked up a cruciate ligament injury back in November and Watmore picking up a similar injury a month later.

The two have been stepping up their recovery, working hard in Portugal ahead of pre-season, and Honeyman stated that the duo could be crucial in Sunderland's promotion push next season.

"It will be a big boost to get Dunc and Paddy back," he said. "Because they’re going to be two big players for us this year."

"We have the makings of a really good, youthful team,"
Honeyman concluded. "There’s definitely a feeling amongst the players that we can do something this year."