Sunderland’s Jordan Pickford has “top class” character to cope with Premier League

Jordan Pickford.
Jordan Pickford.
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Jordan Pickford will take the extra scrutiny of the Premier League in his stride, believes Sunderland skipper John O’Shea.

Pickford yesterday agreed a new deal with the Black Cats to extend his contract at the Stadium of Light until the summer of 2020.

Jordan Pickford. Picture by FRANK REID

Jordan Pickford. Picture by FRANK REID

Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce has confirmed that Pickford is the back-up to Vito Mannone at present after putting his faith in the Italian keeper, following the departure of Costel Pantilimon.

But since being recalled to Sunderland earlier this month, Pickford has received plenty of attention from his first two performances for his boyhood club, despite conceding seven goals at Arsenal and Spurs.

Veteran defender O’Shea has complete confidence that the England Under-21 international will brush off that scrutiny though after seeing the 21-year-old’s character.

O’Shea said: “His temperament won’t be a problem to him at all.

“The manager will manage how he copes with things.

“But he’s had no problem with putting him in at Arsenal or Tottenham for games like that.

“That’s all you need to know about his temperament really, which is top class.”

Pickford had trained with Sunderland’s first team squad in pre-season and Allardyce’s players were well aware of the academy product’s talent.

The Washington-born stopper demonstrated that during a loan spell at Championship Preston during the first half of the season, where he registered 13 clean sheets in 27 games.

“After seeing him in pre-season and seeing how hungry he was with the talent he had and being a local lad, we knew his talent,” added O’Shea

“The manager obviously kept an eye on him and he’s been confident enough to let Costel head down to Watford and have the competition now between Vito and Jordan.

“I’m sure Vito’s experience will be vital as well for the rest of the season.

“But Jordan’s been a breath of fresh air and he’ll go from strength to strength without a doubt.

“Some of the saves away at Tottenham were really top class.”