Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Back-Up Pickford Reveals Ambitions

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Back-Up Pickford Reveals Ambitions

Article excerpt

Byline: Stuart Rayner @StuRayner

JORDAN Pickford has told Sam Allardyce he is ready to "step up" next season.

The Washington-born 22-year-old was between the posts for Sunderland's final match of 2015-16, at Vicarage Road on Sunday, but it was only his third senior appearance for the club. Pickford will have more chances to impress when he and Duncan Watmore fly to France for the prestigious Toulon Tournament on Tuesday.

And he feels next season will be the time for him to finally fulfil his destiny and become a first-team regular for his local club.

"Duncan and I go away for two weeks, hopefully I will get a few more games to strengthen," said Pickford, who made some good saves in the 2-2 draw at Watford. "I want to keep getting stronger.

"After Toulon hopefully I will come back and have done well then I can have a break before going back for pre-season training. I want to try to get as many starts as I can next season.

"Next season is a big chance because I feel like I am ready to Turn to Page 47 FROM BACK PAGE the gaffer calls upon. I just have to keep working hard in training. If he picks me he picks me. I will be patient and be ready for that step."

Pickford has made over 100 senior appearances, but almost all have come on loan with Darlington, Alfreton Town, Burton Albion, Carlisle United, Bradford City and Preston North End.

Recalled from Deepdale and the Black Cats' goalkeeping position in flux, Pickford had a glimmer of hope in January. Following Costel Pantilimon's move to Watford, Pickford made his Premier League debut at Tottenham Hotspur, having started at nearby Arsenal seven days earlier, then was handed a contract until 2020.

Pickford played well in the two North London games but conceded seven goals and lost his place to Vito Mannone for the remainder of the season, only put back in once Premier League safety was secured. …

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