How receiving a 'volley of abuse' from a non-league defender taught ex-Sunderland star Jordan Pickford a key lesson

Robbie Stockdale has revealed how receiving a ‘volley of abuse’ from a non-league defender helped to teach Jordan Pickford a vital lesson.

Monday, 8th June 2020, 2:43 pm
A young Jordan Pickford, playing for England U19s

The former Sunderland first-team coach was speaking to the BBC Radio Tees Sport Boro Podcast about his time in football – and the six years he spent at the Academy of Light.

Stockdale’s first four years at the club were spent in the youth set-up, where he helped the likes of Pickford to progress through the ranks.

And when recalling his memories of the talented stopper – who now plays for Everton in the Premier League – there was a key moment that stuck with Stockdale, and it as one which helped to teach the ‘keeper a valuable lesson.

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“I went to watch Jordan when he was on loan at Alfreton,” he explained.

“I'd played with a lad called Darren Kempson at Grimsby, he was a centre half and was the captain at Alfreton. If you imagine what a bouncer or doorman would look like, that was Daz - non-league, shaven head, tattoos everywhere.

“In this game, Alfreton were winning 5-0 and the ball went back to Jordan.

“Jordan being Jordan, he's not had much to do in the game and he's getting a bit bored so he decides to try and take it around the centre forward.

“He does, he gets tackled and the centre forward just misses it.

“It's the last couple of minutes and you just think 'yeah, he shouldn't be doing that, but they're 5-0 up.'

“But Darren gave him the biggest volley of abuse you've ever heard. He's calling him every name under the sun.

“Jordan's only ever played youth football and is thinking 'we're winning 5-0, what is he on about' - but little did he know that Daz was on a clean sheet bonus. That was his petrol money to get to and from games!

“You talk about experiences, Jordan will still remember that - and how important it was to do things right.”