Sunderland '˜expect' Jordan Pickford to make great saves. How much could he be worth?
Victor Anichebe may have captured all the headlines in your Sunday papers.
It would be hard to begrudge the powerhouse striker his moment of triumph but the first Premier win of the season at Bournemouth was built, in no small part, by one of our own.
Jordan Pickford had made save after save after save this season since replacing the injured Vito Mannone.
And he did so again at the Vitality Stadium to thwart a team who had not lost at home since the opening day of the programme and whose last four matches on their own soil had produced an 8-1 aggregate score!
Pickford was amazing – again. He did thank lady luck at one point when Junior Stanislas beat him in the second half, only to see his shot clip the keeper’s far post and go to safety.
The 22-year-old had to collect the ball from his own net in the 11th minute when he had no chance from Dan Gosling’s close-range finish from an Adam Smith cross.
Otherwise, the Washington stopper was unbeatable as the Cherries discovered in their 2-1 defeat.
His graft began when he beat out a Harry Arter shot early doors, when Sunderland seemed reluctant to go near the midfielder.
There was more good stuff as he saved from Josh King and held a Junior Stanislas free-kick.
The real eye-catching work came after the break when he saved from Jack Wilshere, going to his left to keep out the Cherries’ main man.
But he saved the best until last.
The home side had piled it on both before and after Jermain Defoe had beaten Artur Boruc from the penalty spot to put the Black Cats ahead.
And when King let fly with just four minutes left, Pickford flew high to his right to make a breathtaking save.
With Anichebe leading from the front up top, 10-man Sunderland held out for an incredible victory.
Moyes spoke long and glowingly about Anichebe and you can’t blame him for that, but he delivered fulsome, straight praise for his number 13.
“I said to Jordan ‘when your manager comes in and says I expect you to make them saves’ tells you what we think of him,” said the boss.
With displays like this – and every Saturday – the value of Pickford will keep going up and up.
How much could the England U21 man – recently on the bench for the senior side – go for in the January transfer window, should the Black Cats choose to raise cash to strengthen their squad for a relegation escape mission?
But how invaluable could Pickford be for Sunderland if they kept him at the Stadium of Light?
Having conceded 17 times in nine appearances – with no clean sheets – his record is hardly an inspiring one on paper, but he is producing the goods where it matters, on the grass.
Given the way he is performing, can Sunderland afford to sell him?