Rowell Report: Mannone might be the here and now, but Pickford is the future for Sunderland

Jordan Pickford.
Jordan Pickford.
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Sam Allardyce put the cat among the pigeons as regards the goalkeeping position when he recalled Jordan Pickford from his loan spell at Preston North End.

And it has had huge knock on effects, leading to the departure of Costel Pantilimon.

I am a big fan of Pantilimon, I rate him highly, so I was disappointed to see him go and hope his move to Watford, who we play on the last day of the season, doesn’t come back to haunt us.

The goalkeeping spot was one of the few that was going along smoothly before Christmas with Pantilimon the undisputed first choice until it all changed on Boxing Day when he was dropped at Man City, with Vito Mannone reinstated.

But the Italian lost his place to the recalled Pickford before winning it back on Saturday and all that has got to be confusing for the back four.

It looks to be a straight shoot out now between former player of the year Mannone and the up and coming prospect Pickford, with new signing Steve Harper surely only involved in an emergency.

Mannone got the nod from Sam Allardyce for the AFC Bournemouth game but Pickford is breathing down his neck as he did nothing wrong in his two senior outings against Arsenal in the FA Cup and Tottenham Hotspur in the league and he has been called a ‘Joe Hart in the making’.

It is great to see a player like Pickford, who is Sunderland through and through, emerging and along with Duncan Watmore, the Sunderland boss hasn’t been afraid to give both academy graduates their chance.

The youngster’s form on loan at Preston was such that he equalled a club record for clean sheets and it was reported that other Premier League clubs were taking more than a passing interest in the England Under-21 international.

When Pickford was recalled, the goalkeeping situation at Sunderland had three top keepers chasing one spot and when that is the case, something has to give.

Hence Pantilimon’s sale and even though his goalkeeping place has been taken by Mannone, it looks certain that the long-term future is in the hands of a local lad, with enormous potential and he is a player the fans can identify with.