logo

18 June 2017

Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford backed to become new England No1 and one of the world’s best goalies after £30million move

IT took just five minutes for Jordan Pickford to show Sunderland goalkeeping coach Adrian Tucker he was destined for future success.

Everton’s new £30million keeper was on loan at League One side Bradford from the Black Cats when he faced Yeovil in January 2015.

Jordan Pickford has been tipped to reach the very top at Everton
Jordan Pickford has been tipped to reach the very top at Everton
Getty Images

They say first impressions count and England Under-21 ace Pickford impressed Tucker with his mental strength and star quality as he caught a glimpse of the stopper for the first time.



Tucker said: “I remember I went to Yeovil to do a scouting report on him. I was working for England Under-20s at the time and Jordan was playing for Bradford.

“The game was only five minutes in when a cross came in and he got clattered by one of Yeovil’s strikers. He got up straight away, shook it off and did not show he was hurt. I thought to myself, ‘You’ll do for me, son’.

Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford produces another world class save
The former Sunderland star completed a £30million move earlier in the week
The former Sunderland star completed a £30million move earlier in the week
Rex Features

“He showed me back then his mental strength. Another challenge came in minutes later and again he dealt with it. Nothing fazes him.

“The mental side of the game is probably his biggest strength. He’s a confident keeper without being arrogant, he believes in himself.

“His handling technique is good and his distribution up there with the best in the world – he’s got all the clubs in the bag. He’ll be up for the challenge to prove himself to be a top keeper.”

That character should help Pickford after the 23-year-old completed his big-money, five-year deal to Merseyside last Thursday and became Britain’s most expensive keeper and the third costliest in the world.


Sunderland coach Adrian Turner always knew Pickford was a special player
Sunderland coach Adrian Tucker always knew Pickford was a special player
PA:Press Association

Tucker, who joined Sunderland in March 2015 following five years at Swansea, added: “He’s young and potentially got 15 years at the top if he keeps developing and progressing. It’s just the way fees are nowadays.

“Yes, he’s the third highest fee for a keeper in the world but if (David) de Gea, (Manuel) Neuer or the AC Milan keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma come on the market they would be £75million minimum. But, because of his age, Everton could get their money’s worth and more.

“In goalkeeping terms, he’s very young and will make mistakes and learn from them. It’s about getting the overall consistency now. He’s done it over a short period of 31 Premier League games, but the next challenge is to do it over two or three years.

The 23-year-old has been tipped to become the next England No1
The 23-year-old has been tipped to become the next England No1
Rex Features

“If he does that then he will be a regular for Everton and the plaudits and England side of things will come.

“He has the potential to be England’s number one. But there are other keepers in the frame. The likes of Joe Hart, Jack Butland and Tom Heaton are all good keepers so there’s a lot of competition for places.

“But has he got what it takes to be an England keeper? Yes, he has.”

Turner reckons Pickford's strongest attribute is his mental strength
Tucker reckons Pickford's strongest attribute is his mental strength
PA:Press Association

Pickford was part of Sunderland’s relegated side last season but Tucker, 40, says everyone at the Stadium of Light wishes him well on his return to the Premier League.

Tucker said: “It was a pleasure and privilege to work with Jordan and be part of his progress.

“He’s a Premier League goalkeeper and he’s proven that. Everyone at Sunderland, players, staff and fans will support him in his development.

Rex Features

Pickford is currently starring for England’s U21s at the Euro Championships[/caption]

“He’s a down-to-earth guy and he’s had a good grounding at Sunderland. He’s gone through the academy system which has developed him.

“At under-17, under-18, he was playing men’s football in the local leagues of the north east and playing for points. He had to act like an adult and grow up quickly rather than playing youth team football.

“Then he took the step up with loan spells at the likes of Darlington, Alfreton, Burton, Carlisle and Bradford.

Pickford has already gained a ton of experience despite his young age
Pickford has already gained a ton of experience despite his young age
PA:Press Association

“After that stint at Bradford, Jordan came back and was one of the three senior keepers along with Vito (Mannone) and (Costel) Pantilimon for our 2015 pre-season trip to America.

“But Preston got in contact and said they were keen to take him on loan. Jordan was impatient and wanted to play football and we thought it was a good opportunity for him to play in the Championship rather than sit on the bench.

“It was a great move for him. He played there for six months and it bridged the gap between League One and the Premier League. He did extremely well, played the games and took to it like a duck to water.

Watch this fantastic save from Sunderland stopper Jordan Pickford

“So we had no qualms when Sam (Allardyce) gave him an opportunity in the FA Cup tie against Arsenal. He’s been exposed to an awful lot in games and he’s showed his quality.

“Last season he was probably exposed more than he would have liked to have been but he dealt with everything that was thrown his way.”

And Tucker hopes that strong mentality will aid his development as his new career at Goodison Park begins.

Please follow and like us:

Share
#

Write a comment

5+1 = ?