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Jordan Pickford: ‘I was a young lad thrown in at the deep end but I felt ready’

The Sunderland goalkeeper’s displays have attracted much interest from bigger clubs but for now he is focusing on England’s European U21 Championship campaign

When a furious Jordan Pickford conceded a goal during a training exercise with England’s Under-21’s at St George’s Park this week, he whacked and burst one of the inflatable mannequins that had been put up to complicate the strikers’ route to goal. “I just don’t like conceding,” he explains with an endearing chuckle. There was an obvious quip that could have been made about being accustomed to it after a campaign behind the dummies in Sunderland’s defence but his club’s relegation is no light-hearted matter for the 23-year-old.

Pickford is still hurt by his hometown team’s fall from the Premier League even if things are looking up for him personally, with his acclaimed performances throughout the season likely to result in offers from several top-flight clubs waiting for him when he gets back from this month’s European Under-21 Championship, from which he is confident of returning as a winner.

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