"He's as mad as a box of frogs," jokes Burnley's Phil Bardsley, when recalling his time with England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford

England goalkeepers Tom Heaton and Jordan Pickford are like chalk and cheese in terms of personality, according to Clarets right back Phil Bardsley.
Burnley's Phillip Bardsley runs at Newcastle United's Florian LejeuneBurnley's Phillip Bardsley runs at Newcastle United's Florian Lejeune
Burnley's Phillip Bardsley runs at Newcastle United's Florian Lejeune

But the 33-year-old defender couldn't choose between the two when it comes down to their ability. Fortunately, that's a job for Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate.

The former Scotland international, capped 13 times for his country, was at the Stadium of Light when Pickford was coming through the ranks at Sunderland, acting as understudy to Simon Mignolet and then Vito Mannone.

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Recalling his time in Tyne and Wear, where Pickford was loaned out to Darington, Alfreton and Burton, the one-time Manchester United full back said: "I knew Jordan [Pickford]. He's as mad as a box of frogs. He's something else.

"He was outstanding in the tournament in the summer but he's just mad. He was always like that as a young kid coming through at Sunderland. He was crazy.

"He's done a remarkable job, his form has been good for Everton and I think he was destined to go to a decent club and play for England."

Heaton, ever the professional, hasn't changed since he was a novice at Old Trafford, revealed Bardsley.

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The Burnley captain has led by example throughout his career and, as far as his team-mate is concerned, was more than deserving of an international recall.

The 32-year-old, who has started Burnley's last 11 games in the Premier League, made his only start for his country against France in the summer of 2017 and was on standby for the FIFA World Cup in Russia.

But he's back in contention and now he'll challenge Pickford for the number one spot for UEFA European Championship qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Montenegro later in the month.

"Our form has been outstanding and I think the recognition that Gareth Southgate has shown him in putting him back in the squad is well deserved," said Bardsley.

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"His performances have been top drawer, they've been outstanding and warranted a place in the England squad.

"His work ethic was always second to none, he was always practising to improve his game. You look at the level he's playing at now, it pays you back over the years.

"He's put the work in, he's dedicated to his job and it's credit to him and his family for the way he's conducted himself throughout his career. Getting another call up to England is a massive credit to him.

"He's a good character and it's fully deserved. I'm delighted for him. I think his form has been outstanding for Burnley.

"He's been arguably our best player and I think he could step in and play in the two qualifiers. He's a seasoned pro with great experience and great knowledge; he listens and learns."