David Moyes says there is no decision to make over his No 1 Sunderland goalkeeper given Jordan Pickford’s superb form.
Washington-born Pickford has fresh competition for his spot after the return of Vito Mannone from an elbow injury.
But Moyes insists that the impressive form of 22-year-old Pickford means it is very much his position to lose.
Mannone, who was out for two months after elbow surgery, will return to the squad for the visit of Hull City today and be among the substitutes at the Stadium of Light.
Moyes said: “For me, it is not a decision.
“Jordan has got the jersey at the moment and his form has been so good that I can’t see past him at the moment; simple as that.
“He now has Vito back and more competition, but I think the points Jordan has saved us far outweigh the points he may have lost us.
“As a young player, it is not always easy.
“He won’t always be on top form, but Sunderland should be proud they have another player towards the England squad.
“You look at Jordan Henderson, who may take over as England captain after Wayne Rooney goes.
“Sunderland can be a place you can come and develop as a player and progress and go onto play at the highest level.
“We hope Jordan goes on to progress with us and be a goalkeeper at the highest level.”
Pickford was drafted into the Sunderland side for the 1-1 draw at Southampton at the end of August. He starred, but his late mistake cost Sunderland two points.
But Southampton aside, Pickford has been in fine form – including keeping Bournemouth at bay before the international break – and his form earned him another call-up to the main England squad.
Sunderland finally ended their 10-game winless run with victory on the south coast.
And now Pickford goes in search of his first Premier League clean sheet.
Moyes added: “He made the mistake at Southampton and, at that time, Vito was injured.
“We were struggling, so he was probably always going to get four or five games and sometimes, when you are a young player, you need a run of games.
“One game is not enough. You need to get the feeling that you have the chance to show what you have got.
“Jordan will be desperate to get his first clean sheet.
“He couldn’t do anything about the goal at Bournemouth.
“The saves he has been making have been great and I said to him after the game, ‘I expect you to make those saves’.
“I wasn’t giving him high fives, but I said that is what I expect good goalkeepers to do and you are a good goalkeeper,” added Moyes, who will be back in the dugout for the visit of Hull after serving his one game touchline ban at Bournemouth.