Jordan Pickford will miss up to eight weeks after suffering a knee injury during Sunderland’s 3-1 defeat at Manchester United on Boxing Day.
The stopper has been in irrepressible form since replacing Vito Mannone in the starting XI, with the 22-year-old keeping three clean sheets in 19 games after the Italian was ruled out of action due to an elbow injury.
During that time Pickford has earned countless plaudits from some of the biggest names in the game, with Gareth Southgate also selecting him in the England senior squad for the first time.
And although Sunderland boss David Moyes admitted is was a disappointing blow, he hailed the experience of Mannone who will return to the side.
“There is good news and bad news,” explained the Scot. “The good news is that he hasn’t ruptured his ACL, but the bad news is that he’s strained it a little bit – stretched it – so it looks like he will be out for six to eight weeks.
“It’s a major disappointment to us and more importantly for the boy because he’s been playing so well and he’s been saving us points.”
He continued: “After the game I saw the physios working on him and having a look at his knee, you tend to think it must be okay but the scans the next day showed that he needed a rest and recovery.
“I think Jordan is one of the brightest young prospects in England at this moment in time.
“Vito has been training for many weeks now since his injury and we’re glad of his experience.”