Sunderland have no intention of selling top prospect Jordan Pickford, despite Spurs and Aston Villa being linked with the goalkeeper.
Weekend reports have indicated that Sunderland’s Premier League peers, Spurs and Villa, are keeping a watching brief on Pickford during his loan spell at Championship outfit Preston.
It is understood that Pickford has also been the subject of interest from other top flight clubs too.
But Sunderland believe they have a keeper on their hands who can make it to the very top and have ear-marked the Washington-born stopper as the club’s long-term number one.
Dick Advocaat and Lee Congerton thought long and hard over whether to send Pickford on loan to Preston this summer or keep him at the Stadium of Light to offer back-up to Costel Pantilimon.
But Sunderland eventually decided that a full season of Championship football would be more beneficial to the 21-year-old, who has kept four clean sheets in his opening seven games for Preston.
Washington-born Pickford’s potential is also seeing him progress through the age groups at international level after making his debut for England Under-21s in last week’s 1-0 win over the USA.
Pickford is in line to feature again in England’s Euro 2017 qualifier against Norway tomorrow, and is glad to have made his U21 bow after representing his country at every age group from U16s.
“It was a great honour and a privilege to make my debut,” he said.
“I’m really proud of it and to do it in Preston and to get a good reception was really pleasing too.
“As a keeper you want a clean-sheet and then the lads came on and got the goal, so it was good all round.”