Monsieur Salut writes: we’ve acclaimed Jermain Defoe. So has the country at large. Pete Sixsmith’s Observer Q+A talked of a man who, at Sunderland AFC, had enhanced his reputation as a striker and – through his quite beautiful bond with Bradley Lowery – as a man.
Pete’s piece, reproduced in expanded form here, briefly mentioned the other positive from our truly awful season: the superior goalkeeping of Jordan Pickford, albeit interrupted by a midseason injury layoff.
Jordan deserves and will probably attain the status of England’s Number One. He may well do it while keeping goal for a club other than the one he has always supported, SAFC. That is his right, maybe even a personal duty, as a pro. I wish him well and, while regretting that Sunderland are unlikely to provide the platform for his ambition, will follow his progress much as I follow Jordan Henderson’s.
Here are some excerpts from an interview with Jordan (P), speaking to EASPORTS.com to mark his EA SPORTS FIFA 17 rating being upgraded (that’s a football video game for the unitiated). To read the full interview, go to https://www.easports.com/uk/fifa/news/2017/jordan-pickford-interview …
Q: You were called up to the England U21 squad last week after being part of the England squad in November. How long do you think it will be before you start challenging in the senior team for the no.1 spot?
A: I was called up [to the senior squad] in November and it was a great experience for me and a big learning curve, it’s all about maturing as a keeper. But I’ve hopefully got the U21 European Championships in the summer and I want to go there, be a part of it, try to win it and take it from there. Obviously I’ve got top keepers in front of me. I’ve always looked up to Harty (Joe Hart) as a young lad, and the way he’s gone about his football. When I was with him in the England squad I saw first hand what a top keeper he is so I’ll do well to get past him.
Q – Do you think Sunderland have what it takes to survive this season?
A – Definitely. We’ve got a good mentality in the squad and we’ve stuck together. We’ve done it in previous years so we’ll do it again.
Q – Who do you think is the best goalkeeper in the Premier League and why?
A – I’d have to say De Gea or Lloris. They’re both top drawer. Lloris is rapid and has incredible reactions. And you only have to look at the save De Gea made from Hazard against Chelsea down to his right.
Q – What does it mean for you to play for Sunderland in front of your home fans?
A – It’s massive for me. Obviously being a young lad, I’ve always been a fan going to games week in, week out, watching the side play. Now getting to be out on the pitch is an experience I’ve always wanted, so it’s amazing for me.
Q – Who was your footballing idol growing up and why?
A – Peter Schmeichel. Obviously being a goalkeeper growing up and watching him in big competitions like the Champions League was great for me.
Q – What is it like playing under David Moyes?
A – It’s good. Obviously we’re getting new experiences every time a new gaffer comes in and its great to be able to learn something new off of a new manager.
Q – Who is the best FIFA 17 player at the club?
A – It’s either Adnan Januzaj or Wahbi Khazri I think, unless there are any dark horses – but I’d probably have to go for Whabi!
Q – Do you remember the first FIFA game that you appeared on?
A – I do, I think I was rated as a 54, although I’m not 100%. Now I’ve had my ratings upgraded from 73 to 76 on FIFA 17, it’s nice to be a rare gold item so I’ll be buying myself on Ultimate Team!
* Jordan Pickford was speaking about FIFA 17, Sunderland and the season so far to to EASPORTS.com. To read the full interview, go to https://www.easports.com/uk/fifa/news/2017/jordan-pickford-interview