Jordan Pickford's England debut proved the value of a dependable keeper - and what Sunderland are missing
It was good to see young Jordan Pickford selected to start for England in last week's fixture against Germany and he certainly didn't let anybody down.
In fact with two exceptional saves in the first half he kept England in the game.
That international friendly showed the true value of a reliable and dependable keeper and Sunderland’s defensive record wouldn’t be half as bad if we still had Pickford as our number one.
It is amazing just how far he has come in such a short space of time, as this time last year he hadn’t long been in the Sunderland team and now just over 12-months later he is representing his country and looks a certainty for next summer’s World Cup.
Apart from his undoubted ability, the one thing that has always impressed me about Jordan from the very beginning has been his temperament.
He never gets frustrated or in a flap and judging by his performance at Wembley, the bigger the stage, the more focused and nerveless he becomes.
At his age it can only get better and as goalkeepers don’t reach their peak until their late 20s and last longer than outfield players it is frightening to think how long he will have at the top level of English football.
One disappointment though on Friday night was fellow Sunderland academy graduate Jordan Henderson was missing through injury.
It would have been special to see two England players with such strong Sunderland roots playing together in the same England side.
That would have been particularly satisfying for all of the coaching staff at the Academy of Light who have helped in their development and from what I hear they are both grounded and down to earth lads who have been taught to have the right attitude and values.
What a pity both these fine young local talents had to leave Sunderland to further their careers.
I know Sunderland got big money for them but the Black Cats would be much stronger with them still at the club rather than money in the bank.
Who knows, though, what the future holds and if Sunderland can ever get back to where they should be, maybe they will return to the Stadium of Light and play again for the team they both supported and must still mean so much to them.