Sunderland manager David Moyes has revealed he turned down the chance to sign England goalkeeper Joe Hart on loan.
Pep Guardiola made it clear upon joining Manchester City that the 29-year-old would not be his first-choice goalkeeper, leading Hart to an exit.
The shot stopper joined Serie A side Torino on loan after falling behind Willy Caballero in the pecking order at City, before Guardiola brought in Claudio Bravo from former club Barcelona.
Moyes insists he had the opportunity to sign Hart, but instead invested faith in Sunderland’s 22-year-old keeper Jordan Pickford.
“When I arrived, Vito Mannone was probably the number one on experience but his injury meant we needed to turn to Jordan [Pickford] and he has stood up to all we’ve asked of him,” Moyes told the Shields Gazette.
“I could have brought in Joe Hart, we thought he would have been ideal for us, but I had to think of Jordan’s progression too and he hasn’t let us down.”
Sunderland have managed just one win in 11 Premier League games under Moyes, and sit six points from safety at the bottom of the Premier League.
However, Pickford’s performances have been a bright spot for the Black Cats, and the former Everton boss sees no reason why he will not become England’s top option.
Fraser Forster’s injury forced him to withdraw from the England squad for their upcoming matches against Scotland and Spain, with Pickford called up to replace the Southampton keeper, joining Hart and Tom Heaton.
“Hopefully he will become England’s number one for the future, I don’t see why not,” Moyes added.
“He has the attributes and if he keeps his attitude of working hard, he won’t go far wrong.
“You worry about young players making mistakes and it can be even more damaging when you are a goalkeeper and the mistake determines a game – yet I think he has made one mistake all season.
“He’s mentally strong, he has put in an awful lot of hard work on and off the pitch and it is paying off for him.”
Pickford is yet to keep a clean sheet in the league for Sunderland, conceding 17 goals in nine appearances.