A hearty cheer for Jordan Pickford. In tomorrow’s squad, England’s future No 1?

JP - unlucky after a string of fine saves
JP – a string of fine saves each time he plays for SAFC

Even a site that professes relatively little interest – on the part of its main contributors – in international football can stand back and applaud when England call up a player who is not only a Sunderland team member but “one of our own”.

Jordan Pickford therefore carries Salut! Sunderland‘s warmest congratulations into Tuesday’s World Cup qualifying game against Slovenia.

It says a lot about Pickford and Jermain Defoe that even with the team propping up the whole of the Premier League, shipping goals at one end and not scoring many at the other, the keeper and main (only?) striker should be such obvious candidates for inclusion in an England squad.

Defoe’s age, 34 last week, works against him even though there may well be a case for turning to such a consistently reliable goalscorer when immediate results are needed. Pickford, at 22, has no such impediment and has clearly impressed Gareth Southgate as he has us with the tremendous performances he has put in even when, as usual, he ends up on the losing side. So bravo, Jordan, and keep banging away at them, Jermain.

he cost us nowt, you know
Jake: ‘if he played for a London club, would he be in tonight’s squad?’ Discuss

Jordan’s goalstopping is on a par with most top-class keepers, his command of the box is impressive and his distribution is mostly superb. Many Sunderland keepers in recent years have matched him on the first of those qualities; none has managed all three. Indeed, some have managed no more than the goalstopping part.

“Over the moon for him – great lad,” said one of this site’s great friends whose work involved close contact with Jordan today. Those of us who know the “great lad” only from what he does for us on the pitch can easily share the first thought and be chuffed about the second.

It is difficult to escape the thought that Jordan will before long be England’s first choice keeper. But Ellis Short, David Moyes and the other SAFC players have a role, too – to deliver the Premier League stability that might make neither player harbour thoughts of leaving for another club.

M Salut, drawn by Matt, colouring by Jake
M Salut, drawn by Matt, colouring by Jake

7 thoughts on “A hearty cheer for Jordan Pickford. In tomorrow’s squad, England’s future No 1?”

    • I think Jordan might well want to forget this one. Very poor display by England [ apart from Joe Hart and as a late sub, Andros Townsend ] they looked a sorry lot, and couldn’t have complained if they had lost by 2/3 goals.

      I think this match adequately summed up the slump in our international standards. No creativity, indecisive at the back, and little or no goal threat. I don’t think we would scored if we had played all night.

      Sam might not feel so sorry for himself after watching that?

  1. Pickford is nailed on to become a regular England starter. Unfortunately, he’ll probably be wearing a Man City shirt when he does. He fits perfectly into Pep’s football philosophy. £20 million must be just a starting figure

    • I hope he does well for England, but paradoxically if he does, Sunderland can kiss him goodbye. That’s the sad reality we live in. We have kids as budding stars on the way up, as fading stars on the way down, but the majority of our roster is composed of journeyman, and that’s being kind. Most of our ham & eggers would be hard pressed to find employment at most other premiership sides.

      With the endless carousel of players and coaches in and out, our whole organization reeks of bush-league club status, working as a minor-league affiliate to the top pro sides.

      And that’s what makes being a Sunderland fan so soul-destroying, never more so than recently. The lack of ambition, the constant flux and turmoil, the underwhelming roster itself, and of course, the dire but wholly predictable results. In the end, what’s left to say that hasn’t been said a thousand times before, all to no avail. No wonder most of the articles here lately draw so few comments.

      So good luck to Pickford and hopefully his time in the Sunderland shooting gallery has served to hone his skills to do well at the international level. And when we have to part with him, let’s hope 1) we get fair value for him and 2) we don’t squander those millions on a collection of has-beens, coulda and shoulda-beens. But if past practice is anything to go on…..

  2. Already, at 22 I think he is our best goalkeeper since Monty.
    Apart from the qualities mentioned above, he seems to possess the absolute key mental requirement needed in a goalkeeper – confidence.
    He appears to have the priceless ability to put mistakes behind him, and get on with the game.
    IMO he will get better and better, and paradoxically, playing for Sunderland will help that process far more effectively than if he was with a more successful club.
    I think that one of the great disadvantages @keepers like Joe Hart have [ or had, in his case ] is playing in a team where they get very little to do. Making saves in training is one thing: doing it in a match is another, and a Sunderland ‘keeper is guaranteed to get a lot to do!
    I believe that Jim Montgomery’s legendary reputation as a shot stopper was honed during his years of frequently playing behind some decidedly dodgy defenders.

    I think that Jermain Defoe’s international days are probably behind him now, but I think that he should have been included in the last World Cup Squad. Even at 34 he was more likely to score vital goals than any of the strikers who RH took to Brazil. And again, a key ingredient is confidence. Defoe can feed off scraps. We could have done with him against Iceland.

  3. It’s not that long ago that I saw him between the sticks on the Eppleton Colliery Welfare ground and now he’s with the England squad.

    When Mannone got injured there were suggestions that we should try and sign Joe Hart, especially after JD’s unfortunate error at Southampton. So glad we didn’t.

    As you say his distribution is on the whole superb. When he kicks it upfield he kicks it low and hard and 95% of the time finds a Sunderland player. Contrast with hopeful punts upfield from other keepers which invariably end up in a scrap for possession and often puts the defence back under pressure.

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