ONE-TO-WATCH: Denver Hume (Sunderland AFC)

If you know me personally, or are a keen follower of my work, then you will know that I’m a major Crewe Alexandra fan. Whilst I prepare to sit down and write about the recent matchup versus Sunderland at the Stadium of Light for my own blog, one name gets repeated throughout my notes; Sunderland’s Denver Hume.

I like to think that I know a little about the vast majority of EFL players – or at least I’ve heard their name before – but young Denver Hume is an anomaly. He was one of the few names on that Sunderland team sheet that didn’t frighten me. His pedigree is a far-cry from the likes of Chris Maguire and Lynden Gooch, but on that Tuesday evening he was the man who grabbed the unwritten headlines.

Sunderland lined up with a three-at-the-back formation, with wing-backs that were tucked up higher into the midfield. The right side saw Gooch strutting his stuff. He’s not the quickest winger but he caused havoc for Crewe’s Harry Pickering. Denver Hume took up his position on the left. Prior to the game he might’ve been worried about coming up against one the league’s better right backs in Perry Ng, and a dangerous, physical winger in Dan Powell.

However, as it turns out, when Hume later went to get his car keys out of his back pocket, he found both Ng and Powell in there too. An easy day at the office for the 22-year-old.

Denver Hume on going under the radar in Sunderland's academy and his rise  to the first team - Chronicle Live
(Image: Sunderland AFC via Getty Images)

Who is Denver Hume?

Born in Ashington, Northumberland (about 15 miles from Newcastle), Hume was raised in the north east. He also gained his footballing education in the north east too. The player has been at Sunderland for 12 years, after joining the Black Cats’ academy at the age of 10. He finally made his first team debut in the 2017-18 season; making one league appearance as Sunderland were relegated from the Championship. In League One the season after, he upped his appearance tally. Making eight league appearances, and 11 in all competitions. The youth product was seemingly getting his chances.

Last season was a real breakthrough year for the player. Making 32 League One appearances at the age of 21 is no mean feat. He netted his first goal that season too; during a 4-0 win over Wycombe Wanderers in early 2020.

Hume’s Style

On Tuesday, Hume caused major issues for Ng and Crewe’s right flank. A constant threat, and a constant headache. Playing as the widest left sided player (and only left sided attacking player) means he has all the space he needs to make his daring and challenging runs. He’s a player that doesn’t need to spray a creative pass up field to drag his team from the defensive phase to an attacking one, as he can do it by simply dribbling the ball at will. With Luke O’Nien behind him in the three-man defence, it allows Hume to have a freer role. Particularly as O’Nien is typically a pacy and competent full back himself, he offers the perfect left-sided back-up.

The idea that Hume has been more of an attacking threat than a defensive asset so far this season is not that surprising. Sunderland boast the best defence in League One, having conceded only the one goal. Crewe did not even have a single shot against them on Tuesday. He plays a part in that success of course, but his main value lies in the attacking aspect of his game. Check out this heat map for the League One season so far:

image: sofascore

Blatantly he’s nearly an all-out attacking force. This heat map tells you something else too, something that Crewe hugely struggled with – he hugs the flanks. A lot. He stays wide, not getting dragged in to the masses of players that are in-field for Sunderland. He stands out-wide, giving the right back a headache over where their position should be to deal with the winger and the other attacking forces. Many full-backs would get dragged out to him, leaving a huge gap between the right back and centre back, giving a chance for other players to expose this, or even Hume himself. His speed and drive is dangerous. In my experience, not too many players get the better of Perry Ng time and time again, yet Hume did.

Denver Hume Fluctuates - Former Sunderland Star On Defender - Inside Futbol  | Latest Football News, Transfer Rumours & Articles » Football - » Features  | Inside Futbol - Online World Football Magazine
(Image: Nick Potts)

What He Needs to Improve On

In a nutshell: his end product.

He might’ve run Ng ragged but his final balls did not test the defenders and goalkeeper enough. The single shot he had during the game was a pee-rolling right footed effort that the Crewe Alex keeper gleefully picked up. It’s clear to see that scoring and shooting need to be fairly high up on his improve-list, especially if he is going to remain playing at wing-back/left wing. With only two professional goals (one coming this season in the EFL Trophy), he’s not got a good scoring record. To put that into comparison, Harry Pickering – Crewe Alex’s 21-year-old left back – has five goals (including two this season) since the start of last season’s campaign; a much better return from a slightly deeper position.

Shooting isn’t his thing, but his assist stats are not too shabby. Across the last three seasons he’s registered eight assists. Not a terrible return but if he wants to be effective and progress up the leagues then those will have be upped. He could be an excellent asset for any team, his pace is immense, if only he can get his crossing ability up to that level too. According to SofaScore, only 22% of his crosses are accurate this season. With the abundance of quality strikers at Sunderland’s disposal, a speed and crossing demon on the left flank would be an absolute game changer.

Have you seen Denver Hume play? Have you watched his rise throughout the Sunderland ranks? Do you see the same potential that I do? Comment below, or tweet us, @fanhub_football , to join the discussion!

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