Preston North End boss Simon Grayson believes Jordan Pickford will thrive at Everton – when his transfer from Sunderland goes ahead.
The Black Cats have agreed a fee rising to £30million for the 23-year-old, who is reported to have undergone his Everton medical in Poland last night, ahead of England’s European Under-21 Championship opener against Sweden tomorrow.
Grayson had Pickford on loan for the first half of the 2015-16 campaign, with Sunderland ending the season-long deal six months early.
“The move will inspire him,” said Deepdale manager Grayson, who has been linked with Sunderland’s managerial vacancy.
“The lad loves the attention – he will thrive on that without being big-time. He is vocal and he is a winner.
“He loves the pressure of being the best he can.
“He will be looking at the England situation at the moment and thinking the next port of call is to be England’s number one.
“He has got all the ingredients but he would admit he still has to work on certain things.
“He is still young and there is room to develop.
“He is a willing learner and listener, he wants to stay out and be involved in training sessions.
“When the top clubs are looking for players and good keepers, they are looking for shot stoppers but also keepers with exceptional feet – and we said that he could have played outfield with the quality of his feet.”
Grayson added to the Lancashire Post: “We saw what a good goalkeeper Jordan was during his time with us and it is not a surprise to see him close to making a big move.
“The £30million fee is a bit of a surprise but I suppose that is the going rate for a keeper of his standard – Manchester City have just paid nearly £35m for Ederson.
“Jordan is a really down to earth lad and is great to have around a club.
“I texted him the other day about my charity bike ride and straight away he donated to my just giving page.
“(Coach) Alan Kelly speaks to him quite often – he worked closely with Jordan.
“The lad was exceptional for us during his loan spell.
“He kept us in a few games with some great displays and won us a lot of points.
“We wanted to keep him for the full season but Sunderland called him back.
“Jordan has worked hard to get to where he has.
“Before coming to us, he had been on loan on Alfreton, Burton, Carlisle and Bradford.
“He had got out there and been prepared to play at non-league level and in the lower divisions.”
Everton goalkeeping legend Neville Southall is also a fan, and he tweeted: “I think if we sign Pickford we have a bargain. What price saving 12 points a season? Potential to go all the way to world level.”