Preston goalkeeper Mathew Hudson says it ‘only seems like yesterday’ that he was Jordan Pickford’s cover at Deepdale.
Hudson, who signed a new contract with North End last week, made his one first-team appearance when misfortune struck Pickford.
When Pickford got a red card for handling outside his box when playing for PNE against Leeds in December 2015, Hudson – only 17 – came off the bench.
He played for 55 minutes of the Elland Road clash but has not featured in a competitive game since.
Pickford, who was on loan at the time with Preston, has since gone on to force his way into the England squad.
He is set to be England’s No.1 at the World Cup, with their first game on Monday evening against Tunisia in Volgograd.
Hudson regards Pickford as something of a role model in terms of going out on loan to get first-team experience.
A loan is on the agenda for him in the 2018/19 campaign now that Hudson has signed a two-year deal.
“I feel ready to go on loan at whatever level that might be,” Hudson told the Post.
“Just look at what Jordan Pickford did, he started off on loan at Conference North level when he was 18.
“He built his way up and now he is on the World Cup stage with England.
“When I look back, it only seems like yesterday that we had Jordan on loan here.
“I was on the bench that time at Leeds when he got the red card and I found myself thrown into the action.
“That afternoon I got a taste of it and I’ve wanted to play so much since then.
“Unfortunately that hasn’t happened but now there will be the chance to go on loan to get first-team experience.”
It turned out that Pickford was wrongly sent-off at Leeds, with North End successfully appealing the red card.
A couple of weeks later, he was recalled by parent club Sunderland and last summer moved to Everton.
Said Hudson: “Working with Jordan was brilliant.
“He was just a normal lad, down to earth, a goalkeeper who had come through the academy at Sunderland.”
Southport-born Hudson joined PNE’s academy at the age of 13.
He signed professional terms during his second year as a scholar, not too long after his debut at Leeds.
Meanwhile, North End will face Morecambe at Deepdale in the first round of the League Cup.
It is the third time the clubs have met in the competition, with the Shrimps winning 2-1 in 2007 and PNE coming out 5-1 winners two years later.
The tie will be played in the week beginning August 13 and ticket details will be announced in due course.