World Cup 2022: Sunderland football fans have their say on Jordan Pickford and Henderson and England's chances
Sunderland football fans have been sharing their pride in the World Cup performances of England’s Mackem contingent and having their say on the Three Lions’ chances.
Gareth Southgate’s side overcame Senegal 3-0 on Sunday night to earn a quarter-final clash with France – and Academy of Light graduates Jordan Pickford and Jordan Henderson both had vital parts to play.
Pickford made an excellent stop to prevent Senegal taking the lead, while Henderson opened the scoring when he sidefooted home Jude Bellingham’s pass with barely five minutes of the first half remaining.
The goal settled England’s nerves and Harry Kane added a second in first half stoppage time before Bukayo Saka put the result beyond doubt quarter of an hour after the break.
“We have got a born-and-bred Sunderland fan scoring for England."
Fans analysing the performance in the Bridges today were full of praise for the contribution of the former Black Cats – and there was some real optimism about England’s chances.
Chris Leng, from Fulwell, has watched every game and been impressed with England and both Jordans: “I think we have got a really good chance,” he said.
"Gareth Southgate has done really well – his team selections have been spot-on, his substitutions have been spot-on.
"It was great to see Henderson get a goal – that is something that Sunderland can say that Newcastle can’t,” said Chris, 42.
“We have got a born-and-bred Sunderland fan scoring for England.
"And it has been nice to see Pickford playing so well every game.
"After the women’s Euro win in the summer, you just have to hope we can get the job done and England can win two trophies in one year.”
“They are from Sunderland. It’s just what you expect.”
Twenty-four year-old Jack Croucher, from Red House, has been impressed by what he has seen so far from England’s blend of youth and experience: “Bellingham has been the stand-out for me, what a player he is.
“And as for Henderson and Pickford – well, they are from Sunderland. It’s just what you expect, ” he said.
"I think we have got a good chance. We went in as underdogs but look at us – we have not lost a game.”
Pal Pete Knox is from Newcastle and was, perhaps unsurprisingly, less effusive about the former Black Cats’s performance, but does think England have a real shout with some of the pre-tournament favourites biting the dust at the group stage.
"I think England definitely have a chance,” said Pete, 25.
"I would say Germany and Belgium getting knocked out is a big thing.”
“He has never let England down.”
Sixty-four-year-old Steve Clifton was full of praise for both Henderson and Pickford – but he reckons England will come unstuck against France.
"Pickford has sometimes been criticised because he gets himself too wound up but he has never let England down,” he said.
"And he kept us in the game last night.
"Henderson drove the team forward – his workrate is second to none and his leadership is just fantastic.
"But the team that is going to win it is France – Mbappe and Dembele are out of this world.”
"They have got to stop them from scoring.”
Keith Rackstraw, from Grangetown, also thinks England will face an uphill battle on Saturday and it will be a close match, with defence the key: "The performance has been all right so far, but it has been a bit up and down,” said Keith, from Grangetown.
"The USA game was awful and the first half against Senegal was poor before Henderson got the goal and that gave them a bit of confidence.
"I think they will struggle with France. They have got to stop them from scoring.”
Liverpool fan Linda Aldworth could have been forgiven for praising Jordan Henderson while having less time for Everton’s Pickford – but she has been underwhelmed by England all-round and believes they have literally benefited from the luck of the draw.
"I just think they have been lucky to get this far,” said forty-three-year-old Linda, from Durham.
"I think if perhaps they had played one of the harder teams first, it would be different.”