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ROKER ROUNDUP: Jordan Pickford thinks he’d still be at Sunderland if it wasn’t for Everton deal

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England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford has claimed that he’d probably still be with his ‘hometown club’ Sunderland right now if Everton hadn’t shown ambition and signed him for big money in 2017.

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Stryjek determined to be Sunderland’s number one

Max Stryjek has made a huge impact in less than a week during his loan spell at Stewart Donald’s former club Eastleigh. The young Polish goalkeeper has kept two clean sheets in two 1-0 wins for his new side and has pulled off a number of great saves, including saving a penalty in the first half of his debut.

Eastleigh’s manager Andy Hessenthaler admits that he didn’t know too much about him beforehand but is already hoping the 22-year-old can extend his stay at Ten Acres, with Stryjek’s determination to be Sunderland’s number one a key factor:

We didn’t know too much about Max but we’re fortunate to have a connection with Sunderland and I spoke to Richard Hill and Paul Reid about him, he’s third choice up there at the moment, but they do believe in him and say he needs games. He’s been exceptional for us.

You can see he’s a confident boy and he’s settled in like he’s been here a few weeks. Credit to the boys playing in front of him, they’ve helped him massively.

He’s very focused and very driven and knows he needs games to put himself in the shop window.

He believes he should be Sunderland’s number one and that can only help us because he’s so determined to do well.

He added:

He’s got a big throw, a big kick, he punches well, he makes good decisions and he’s very commanding. He’s the perfect fit for what we need.

We’ve been inconsistent with keepers – not performance-wise, but with injuries to Stacky [Graham Stack] and Ross [Ross Flitney].

Max is younger, he’s living in the house down here and he comes in every day well prepared.

I’d love to think we could keep him longer if he wants to stay. It’s a good platform for him playing games at a decent level.


Pickford not distracted by rumours

Sunderland academy product Jordan Pickford was linked with a move to Bayern Munich and Chelsea in the summer, with rumours only increasing thanks to his starring role in England’s run to the World Cup semi-final.

Speaking after he signed a new six-year contract with Everton, the goalkeeper says those rumours never distracted him and that he would still have been at Sunderland if it wasn’t for the Everton move.

You’ve just got to keep performing and put that to the back of your mind.

You just don’t let it affect you - even if you see speculation. I just knuckle down and focus on my game, that’s how I do it.

I knew I had a contract with Everton and I didn’t at any time think anything other.

If I didn’t come to Everton I think I would have been with Sunderland - that’s my hometown club and if this wasn’t here I probably would have been there still.

Chelsea v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Doncaster boss talks up Sunderland

Doncaster Rovers are on a three game winning streak in League One and they currently lie fourth in the table, only behind Sunderland on goal difference.

Speaking to the Doncaster Free Press ahead of Saturday’s trip to Home Park to play Plymouth Argyle - who are yet to win this season - Rovers manager Grant McCann says there isn’t much between most of the teams in League One but does not include Sunderland when he says that:

I don’t think there is much in this league, there’s not much between most of the teams.

Sunderland have obviously got a huge budget and there’s players in there that have been in the Premier League. They maybe a street ahead of everybody else.

But apart from that I think everyone is on a level playing field. You can win on any given day, you can lose on any given day if your concentration is not right. We’ve got to make sure we’re right more times than not, and we’ll give ourselves a good chance.

I think it’s a level of consistency and concentration that teams are showing, especially the top teams. The Portsmouths, Peterboroughs, Sunderands - the level of consistency they show each week shows why they’re up there, added to their quality.

Doncaster Rovers v Luton Town - Sky Bet League One Photo by George Wood/Getty Images