FA Cup legend Monty’s text message of praise to England’s Euro 2020 hero Jordan Pickford
Sunderland goalkeeping legend Jimmy Montgomery texted his congratulations to England star Jordan Pickford after his outstanding performance against Germany at Wembley.
And now he is urging the Academy of Light graduate to carry on where he left off in today’s Euro 2020 quarter final clash with Ukraine.
The former SAFC man has been one of the stars of Gareth Southgate’s side so far, keeping a series of clean sheets and producing two world class saves against the Germans to help secure a famous 2-0 win.
1973 FA Cup legend Jimmy – forever etched in SAFC folklore after his Wembley heroics to help beat Leed United - watched Jordan grow up during his time with the Black Cats’ academy and is still in touch.
He has been hugely impressed with the Washington lad’s performance so far, especially against the old rivals: "I think the two saves he made were outstanding – the first one in particular was top class,” said Jimmy.
“The main thing that has impressed me with Jordan is his demeanour. Sometimes in the past he has been a bit hot-headed and rash but now he seems to have overcome that and he is doing the right thing at the right time.
“He looks assured, he looks very, very in control and there is a lot of communication with his back four and defensive midfielders.
“His distribution has always been superb and now he is mixing it up well. He has got a really good kick out and there was one that almost set Raheem Sterling away.
“I texted him after the game just to say how well he had played.”
So what does Jimmy want to see next from his former protege?
“Just keep doing the same thing – exactly the same thing,” he said.
"Defensively they have played very, very well – there is a good link between the keeper and the back four. Spectators don’t always realise how much communication has to go on – when to push left, when to go forward, when to fill the hole – I know what goes on and he has been doing it extremely well.”
Jimmy was also delighted to see another SAFC old boy get a run out in the closing minutes of the Germany game.
"It was absolutely brilliant to see Jordan Henderson get a few minutes because he is so important to that team,” he said.
He believes the progress the pair have made is down to a combination of their teammates at Liverpool and Everton and their own strength of character.
“When you are mixing with top players day in and day out, it is going to rub off,” he said.
"But a lot of the time it is down to the individuals – it is their attitude and their commitment to their game.
“I have seen a lot of really good players who did not made it because they did not have the aptitude and attitude. It is hard work to get to the top and it is even harder work to stay there – you have got to put the work in to achieve what these lads have done.”