Tuesday, October 17

Former coach: 'Jordan Pickford destined for greatness'

Jordan Pickford has the qualities required to achieve success with both England and Everton, according to Sunderland goalkeeping coach Adrian Tucker.

Sunderland goalkeeping coach Adrian Tucker has backed Jordan Pickford to oust Joe Hart as England's first-choice stopper in the coming years.

The 23-year-old this week became the third most expensive player ever in his position, accumulating a fee of £30m to take him from boyhood club Sunderland to Everton.

Pickford has confidence in his own ability, showcased when keeping out a penalty in England Under-21s' meeting with Sweden on Friday, and Tucker believes that this self-belief is justified as the youngster has all the ingredients to continue improving.

"I remember I went to Yeovil to do a scouting report on him. I was working for England Under-20s at the time and Jordan was playing for Bradford," he told The Sun. "The game was only five minutes in when a cross came in and he got clattered by one of Yeovil's strikers. He got up straight away, shook it off and did not show he was hurt. I thought to myself, 'You'll do for me, son'.

"He showed me back then his mental strength. Another challenge came in minutes later and again he dealt with it. Nothing fazes him. The mental side of the game is probably his biggest strength. He's a confident keeper without being arrogant, he believes in himself. His handling technique is good and his distribution up there with the best in the world - he's got all the clubs in the bag. He'll be up for the challenge to prove himself to be a top keeper.

"He's young and potentially got 15 years at the top if he keeps developing and progressing. It's just the way fees are nowadays. Yes, he's the third highest fee for a keeper in the world but if [David] de Gea, [Manuel] Neuer or the AC Milan keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma come on the market they would be £75m minimum. But, because of his age, Everton could get their money's worth and more.

"He has the potential to be England's number one. But there are other keepers in the frame. The likes of Joe Hart, Jack Butland and Tom Heaton are all good keepers so there's a lot of competition for places. But has he got what it takes to be an England keeper? Yes, he has."

Pickford, part of the relegated Sunderland side last season, is behind only Gianluigi Buffon and Ederson as the world's costliest keepers.

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