Whoever is handed the reigns to the vacant Sunderland job will have one hell of a challenge on their hands. And the task of dragging the Black Cats out of the Championship relegation zone will not be made any easier by the club’s paucity of quality goalkeepers.
Sunderland boasted arguably the best young goalkeeper in English football between the sticks last season in Jordan Pickford. In 2017/18, however, recently departed boss Simon Grayson was forced to pick between the erratic Robbin Ruiter and the unconvincing Jordan Steele.
The fact that Ruiter and Steele (below) have alternated throughout the season is enough of an indication that neither has managed to put together a string of reliable displays.
Though if Shrewsbury Town boss Paul Hurst emerges as the frontrunner to take over at the Stadium of Light, and Sky Sports report that he is interested, the 43-year-old should make plans for a reunion with a ‘keeper he tipped for the very top.
Hurst, who has confounded the pre-season predictions by guiding relegation favourites Shrewsbury to the top of League One, believes that his World Cup Under-20 winning goalkeeper Dean Henderson has the potential to represent England on a senior basis one day, per the Shropshire Star.
The 20-year-old Manchester United loanee has certainly enhanced his reputation in the third tier and is perhaps the primary reason why Shrewsbury have improved so much in 2017/18 after finishing 18th last season.
And with Henderson’s contract at United expiring in the summer, The Sun reports that there is no shortage of 14 clubs tracking his progress, including plenty from both the Premier League and Championship.
And if Hurst gets the job at Sunderland, he should attempt to replace Pickford with another of England’s most promising young shot-stoppers. A potential free transfer should certainly appeal to the cash-strapped Wearsiders.