SUNDERLAND have secured the long-term services of Jordan Pickford by tying the highly-rated young goalkeeper to a new four-year deal.

Pickford’s new contract, which commits him to the Stadium of Light until 2018, was confirmed this morning and ends any doubt over the 20-year-old’s future amid mounting interest from elsewhere.

Pickford’s development was enhanced by loan spells at Burton Albion and Carlisle United last season, and it is likely that the Black Cats will look to send him to another Football League club for part of next season.

The departure of Keiren Westwood and Oscar Ustari has created a vacancy in Sunderland’s senior goalkeeping department, but it is unlikely that Pickford will be asked to provide full-time cover to established number one Vito Mannone.

Instead, Gustavo Poyet is expected to sign a more experienced shot-stopper this summer, with Crystal Palace’s Julian Speroni and Manchester City’s Costel Pantilimon currently under consideration.

“Last season was massive for me,” said Washington-born Pickford, who joined Sunderland’s academt as an eight-year-old in 2002. “I played games at Burton and at Carlisle, which was great experience.

“I want to keep developing and working hard and I’m delighted to sign a contract with the club I have always supported.”