Jordan Pickford is considered a real prospect for the future.
The current Sunderland number one said: “I have seen how well Jordan is doing and I am really happy for him. He is at a good club, learning his trade. He is the future for England and this club too and I hope that he continues to do well. This club will need him in the future.”
Pickford, and English Under-21 international, has still not made his debut for Sunderland, but he is highly rated at the club.
A number of loan spells earlier in his career have seen him end up at Preston this term, and his development has progressed at an exceptional rate.
The youngster is being aided by playing in a defensive side, but his record of just 16 goals conceded in 18 league games in impressive; he has also kept nine clean sheets this term.
On his current form, Pickford could quite easily be fighting for a starting role at Sunderland if he was at the Stadium of Light, and there is a belief that the youngster will become first-choice goalkeeper from next season.
Clearly Pantilimon rates Pickford just as highly as the management staff on Wearside do, and the current keeper recognises that the youngster is the future of both Sunderland and England.
Pantilimon might be aware of this, but he would still not want to see Pickford replace him as first-choice stopper as early as next season.