Jordan Pickford deserved England call but Sunderland aim to give keeper less work

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John O’Shea says Jordan Pickford’s England call-up was well-deserved after some outstanding Premier League displays – but now insists Sunderland must give him less to do.

Pickford sat on the bench on Tuesday night when the Three Lions drew 0-0 in Slovenia.

As I said after the West Brom game we have to get back to keeping clean sheets, they are very important

JOHN O’SHEA

The 22-year-old has made save after save during Sunderland’s difficult start to the season but O’Shea wants to see LESS of the keeper, starting with tomorrow’s vital trip to Stoke City.

“It was a big boost for Jordan and his performances have deserved it,” said the skipper.

“The England manager has obviously recognised the good work he’s done and he’s obviously seen him up close in the Under 21s as well.

“But as much as Jordan is performing well, it’s up to us to make sure he is not getting much to do.

“As I said after the West Brom game we have to get back to keeping clean sheets, they are very important.

“If we can get the clean sheets we know we have Jermain up top, Duncan, Wahbi and we can create chances for them and come out on top.”

It is a huge match at the Bet365 Stadium – Sunderland are propping up the table with two points but hosts Stoke are just one point and one place better off.

Given the Potters have won just one of their last eight Premier League matches at home – three draws and four defeats – there is pressure on Mark Hughes and his players.

So can Sunderland turn that to their advantage and put the pressure on their host?

“We hope so,” O’Shea said in an interview on www.safc.com. “But ultimately it’s down to us and it’s our performance we have to worry about.

“It’s about how we perform, if we look after that hopefully the result will take care of itself.”