'Very hard work': Jordan Pickford explains ex-Sunderland coach's influence on his character

Jordan Pickford has opened up on Kevin Ball’s influence during his time at Sunderland.

Speaking to fellow ex-Black Cat, Jill Scott, Jordan Pickford had to go back to his roots to explain his bold character.

The Washington-born goalkeeper spent 15 years on Wearside and became a fan favourite when he claimed Vito Mannone’s number one spot.

Pickford sealed a £30 million move to Everton the following year and has since gone from strength to strength, while also establishing himself as England’s first-choice ‘keeper.

Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

The 29-year-old is known for being very vocal between the sticks and was regularly named captain last season in the absence of Seamus Coleman.

Pickford has admitted his bold personality is all down to Kevin Ball’s teaching at Sunderland.

Speaking on Jill Scott’s Coffee Club podcast, he said: “It’s just me. Kevin Ball was my Under-18s coach at Sunderland and I think the way we were drilled as young kids and how he set his values for us it was very hard work and I’m a passionate Sunderland lad.

“I’ll never change who I am because that’s who I am. To be fair, it’s all for good meaning – I never try and hammer anyone in a bad way – I’m just trying to help the team get a result and keep the ball away from me.”

Did Sunderland ever replace Jordan Pickford?

Pickford was the last of a few quality goalkeepers at the Stadium of Light including Mannone, Simon Mignolet and Craig Gordon.

However, what was to follow was an absolute disaster.

Sunderland v Wycombe Wanderers - Sky Bet League One Play-Off Final
Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Jason Steele, Lee Camp and Robbin Ruiter (the latter arguably the best of of a bad bunch) plagued the club after Pickford’s departure and it was only when Anthony Patterson made his mark that things started to look up.

The 23-year-old looks to be enjoying a similar fairytale to Pickford, having put on a number of impressive displays last season that saw him earn a call-up to the England U21 squad.

Perhaps with the direction the club is going in, Sunderland might manage to hold onto Patterson and eventually welcome him to the Premier League.

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