Southgate praise for PNE keeper Jordan

Under-21s boss Southgate
Under-21s boss Southgate
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Preston North End goalkeeper Jordan Pickford caught the eye in England Under-21s’ win over Kazakhstan with an impressive assist.

Pickford, on loan at PNE for the season from Sunderland, claimed the assist by catching a corner, before placing a long pass into the path of Nathan Redmond, who bagged England’s second of the night.

And boss Gareth Southgate was quick to praise the young keeper for his quick thinking.

“It was a wonderful pass, it showed a great understanding of the game and great technique,” said Southgate.

“And what was really pleasing was the whole team acknowledging the goal and that sums up the week that we’ve had.

“They’ve really come together as a group and have a much clearer understanding of how we want to play and those shared experiences of the matches that we’ve had are really bringing them together.”

The fact that Pickford claimed an assist with a goalkick will not come as a surprise to regular watchers at Deepdale.

His accuracy with his left foot has caught the eye and is seen as a key part of his armoury.

This was Pickford’s third cap for the Under-21s, his debut at this level having come a month ago when England beat the United States 1-0 at Deepdale.

The 21-year-old has been linked with moves in recent weeks to Manchester United, Tottenham and Aston Villa.

He is on a season-long loan at North End, although Sunderland do have a 10-day window when they can recall him in January.

England won 3-0 at the Ricoh Arena thanks to second-half goals from Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Redmond and Chuba Akpom.

Southgate said: “It played out as we thought it might.

“Kazakhstan were difficult to break down with a threat on the counter-attack which they had.”