From Darlington loanee to England hero - the rise and rise of Sunderland lad Jordan Pickford

Jordan Pickford celebrates England's progress into the World Cup quarter-final after the penalty shoot-out win over Colombia. Pic: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.
Jordan Pickford celebrates England's progress into the World Cup quarter-final after the penalty shoot-out win over Colombia. Pic: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.

Saving a penalty to help England into the World Cup quarter-finals looked a million miles away when Jordan Pickford made his first-team debut in January 2012.

Pickford attended the St Robert of Newminster Catholic School in Washington before - at the age of just 17 - turning out for Darlington in a 1-0 defeat to Fleetwood in the Blue Square Premier League.

Jordan Pickford has played in all four of England's games in the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Jordan Pickford has played in all four of England's games in the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The shot-stopper made 100 appearances during loan spells with the Quakers, Alfreton, Burton Albion, Carlisle United, Bradford City and Preston North End before he was given a chance at the top level by boyhood club Sunderland just two years ago.

Read more: Three Lions on the shirt! Praise for Jordan Pickford after England's World Cup penalty shoot-out with Colombia

Pickford joined Sunderland's Academy when he was eight and progressed through age groups at the club before signing his first professional contract in 2011.

A series of loans followed, starting at Darlington, where he made 17 appearances, and continuing the following season with Conference Premier side Alfreton, where he kept five clean sheets in 12 matches.

Jordan Pickford's performances as Sunderland unsuccessfully fought relegation from the Premier League earned him a 25million move to Everton.

Jordan Pickford's performances as Sunderland unsuccessfully fought relegation from the Premier League earned him a 25million move to Everton.

Read more: England hero Jordan Pickford: I'm very good at saving penalties

Pickford was sent out on loan to League Two Burton at the start of the 2013-14 season, but was recalled by Sunderland after making just three appearances for the Brewers.

However, he returned to Burton in September and made a total of 12 appearances for the club across both spells before again being recalled by Sunderland.

He was an unused substitute 11 times for the Black Cats between November and January, before going back out on loan to League One side Carlisle.

Bradford City was one of the clubs where Jordan Pickford went on loan earlier in his career.

Bradford City was one of the clubs where Jordan Pickford went on loan earlier in his career.

Read more: 'Send them in' - Jordan Pickford celebrates England win and looks ahead to quarter-final clash with Sweden

He made 18 appearances for the Cumbrians before agreeing a four-year contract at the Stadium of Light at the end of the season, which tied him to the club until 2018.

A season-long loan in League One with Bradford followed in 2014-15, and the following campaign saw him step up to the Championship with a stint at Preston, before he was recalled by Sunderland in January.

Then, after 100 appearances during his various loan spells, things took off for Pickford.

Jordan Pickford in action for Carlisle United, another of the clubs where he went on loan before making his breakthrough at Sunderland.

Jordan Pickford in action for Carlisle United, another of the clubs where he went on loan before making his breakthrough at Sunderland.

He was handed his debut by the Black Cats in January 2016 in an FA Cup tie that saw Sunderland beaten 3-1 by Arsenal.

He was given his Premier League debut the following week as Sunderland suffered a 4-1 defeat against Tottenham at White Hart Lane.

Read more: 24 million tune in to watch Sunderland lad Jordan Pickford become an England hero



That Premier League appearance meant Pickford had played in each of the top five leagues in England by the age of 21.

Shortly after his Premier League debut he signed an extension to his Sunderland contract, committing himself to the club until 2020.

He began 2016-17 as understudy to Vito Mannone, but an injury to the Italian opened the door for him, and by the season's end he was one of six players shortlisted for the PFA Young Player of the Year award.

Jordan Pickford has become an England regular since moving to Everton in the summer of 2017.

Jordan Pickford has become an England regular since moving to Everton in the summer of 2017.

After Sunderland were relegated, he joined Everton on a five-year contract for an initial fee of £25million, which made him the most expensive British goalkeeper in history. Eyebrows were raised - but by few on Wearside.

After representing England from Under-16s to Under-21s, Pickford was given his international debut in a friendly with Germany in November 2017.

He then won a place in the World Cup squad and started against Tunisia, Panama, Belgium and Colombia, with his penalty save from Carlos Bacca in the shootout win over the latter enabling England to advance to a quarter-final against Sweden on Saturday.