Sam Allardyce raves about Sunderland youth prospect Jordan Pickford

Jordan Pickford was handed his Sunderland debut by Sam Allardyce.

Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce has told the Chronicle that Jordan Pickford is going to be a fantastic player in the future.

Pickford was recalled from a loan spell at Preston North End by Allardyce soon after he took charge at the Stadium of Light, and he was soon handed his first-team debut by the 61-year-old manager.

Although Vito Mannone has become the club’s number one, Allardyce’s faith in Pickford was highlighted by the sale of Costel Pantilimon in the January transfer window.

And, Allardyce is now hoping that more of the club’s youth team can follow in Pickford’s footsteps, with some of the club’s brightest prospects set to be handed chances against Watford at the weekend.

“Some of them need to play in the team to see if they can cope with this level when there is no pressure on us to get points,” Allardyce argued. “That does not mean we will go there and like down, but they need to go there and compete at this level, we have not found a player, except for (goalkeeper Jordan) Pickford who will be fantastic, so we need to find more youngsters.”

Sunderland’s match against Watford is nowhere near are pressurised as it might have been, with their safety now confirmed.

Sunderland picked up three points against Everton to ensure that they would be a Premier League club next term - and allow Allardyce the opportunity to alter his line-up at Vicarage Road.

As well as Pickford, the likes of Lyden Gooch and Duncan Watmore will also be in contention to start the match.

If Sunderland are able to beat Watford, they could move on to 41 points for the season, which would be a great achievement given their awful start.

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