George Honeyman and Grant McCann fighting for Hull City on and off the pitch

FEW WOULD predict with any degree of certainty where Hull City will finish in the Championship this season, but captain George Honeyman is happy to promise one thing.

Namely that City’s class of 2021-22 are made of sterner stuff than the side who disintegrated on the pitch in the second half of their previous season at this level in 2019-20, and are also much more together off it.

It is a key observation given Honeyman’s status and those bad experiences provide motivation for those good professionals like himself who remain at the club from those dark times.

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Honeyman, hoping to make his first start of the season today following injury, said: “It is a valuable lesson in all walks of life, learning from the tough times, so you don’t repeat them.

George Honeyman: One of the key players for Hull after initially struggling to settle. (Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe)

“We have done a lot to make sure they don’t happen again and hopefully we can have a settled squad over the next few months and build some momentum.

“A major problem of ours (in 19-20) was maybe not sticking together as a team and having everyone working towards the same goal.

“The club as a whole have recognised that and brought in lads who aren’t just good players, but have good characteristics. I think that was evident last year.”

In Grant McCann, they also possess an individual who has had plenty thrown at him during his time in East Yorkshire, but is undoubtedly a fighter.

Hull City's George Honeyman. (Picture: Tony Johnson)

The fact that he is the fifth-longest serving manager at this level speaks volumes about his character, with that comparative longevity having spin-off effects for Hull, according to Honeyman.

His own relationship with McCann – appointed in June 2019 – is a strong one and has survived some adversity along the way.

After joining in August 2019, injury and an inability to settle at Hull ensured that the former Sunderland captain had a tough introduction at his new club.

Some frank conversations with McCann helped turn around the fortunes of Honeyman, who admitted to feeling sorry for himself in those early months.

Hull City's George Honeyman (left) and Northampton Town's Shaun McWilliams last season (Picture: PA)

Honeyman, fit again after recovering from the groin issue which had sidelined him since September 18 – after an earlier spell out following ankle surgery – added: “We trust each other a lot, which is huge in football and I am obviously very loyal to him as he signed me for the football club and will always do everything I can for him.

“I think we have built up a really good relationship over the past few years and have major trust and respect for each other and we both have that desire to build a successful team for Hull City.

“In that first season, we obviously had some real low points and the way the manager bounced back last season – and the squad – was a real credit to everyone.

“He has a real desire to do well for this club and that rubs off in all the right places. He is infectious in his desire to do well in this division and the players just want to prove him right on everything he says about us.

“To have spent this amount of time with the same manager, I find myself quite lucky as in football, it is not a normal thing for a player or a manager to stay at a club for more than two or three years. I think it is a big key to building relationships.”