Pickford hails HK experience

by Stuart Vose

Youngster reflects on Hong Kong Soccer Sevens campaign.

Jordan Pickford said the Hong Kong experience was one to savour after taking part in the Soccer Sevens tournament recently.

Coach Kevin Ball led a 10-strong squad – Pickford included – as Sunderland’s youngsters represented the club in the Far East.

I went to Hong Kong with the first team last year but I think it was hotter this time

- Jordan Pickford

The Black Cats reached the semi-finals of the competition for the fourth successive year, eliminating the likes of Chelsea and Aston Villa before bowing out to eventual winners Manchester City.

“It was a brilliant experience,” said the keeper, who spent the majority of the season out on loan at Burton and then Carlisle.

“I went to Hong Kong with the first team last year but I think it was hotter this time.

“With the short seven-minute halves it was important to keep hold of the ball and we were playing against some teams from Hong Kong who were already acclimatised.

“We managed to knock Chelsea out as well as Aston Villa, who were the favourites, and although we lost in the semi-finals it was great to take part.

“Seeing everything else was brilliant too.”

Pickford also said the squad had set the quarter-finals as their initial target, and while he was disappointed not to make the final, the defeat to City didn’t take away from the overall trip.

“It was a tough group to start off with and we thought it could be our year, but it wasn’t to be.

“It was still a fantastic experience, though.”