What does Jordan Pickford offer amid Aston Villa, Tottenham speculation?

Sunderland Gates

Sunderland's Jordan Pickford is a reported target for Aston Villa and Tottenham.

According to The Sun, as reported by HITC, Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur are pursuing Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford - but what do fans need to know about him?

Pickford, 21, is Sunderland born and bred, and has made way up through the ranks at the Stadium of Light since joining as a teenager.

After loan moves to Darlington, Alfreton Town, Burton Albion, Carlisle United and Bradford City in recent years, Pickford has again been loaned out for this season, joining Championship outfit Preston North End on a season-long loan deal.

Replacing Manchester United's Sam Johnstone, who impressed on loan at Preston last season, was always going to be a tough task, but Pickford has so far slotted in seamlessly at Deepdale.

It seems that there are Premier League clubs chasing Pickford following his impressive displays for Preston so far, and there are a number of qualities that will have stood out for the England Under-21 star.

Pickford's greatest asset is his distribution. The left footed goalkeeper is incredibly accurate with long balls and passes, and the power he generates on those kicks has caused problems for opposing teams this season.

At 6ft 2in, Pickford isn't the tallest goalkeeper, but he has shown the ability and confidence to come off his line and deal with high balls in to the box. There have been a couple of nervy moments this season, and it's still a developing attribute for Pickford, but he isn't shy in commanding his area.

As a shot stopper, Pickford has great reflexes and has conceded just four goals in five Championship games this season, keeping three clean sheets in the process - and he has quickly made himself a fan favourite at Deepdale.

If Villa or Tottenham are looking for a young, English goalkeeper to develop for the future, then Pickford has many of the key attributes they should be looking for - but prising him away from Sunderland may be a very difficult task.

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