PA Sport

New Saints keeper Gunn-ing for England spot

New Saints keeper Gunn-ing for England spot
By PA Sport

11/08/2018 at 16:00Updated 11/08/2018 at 18:06

The 22-year-old is hoping to push his way into contention for Euro 2020.

Angus Gunn plans to use his transfer to Southampton to reach the England squad for Euro 2020 – and believes the club’s goalkeeping coach can inspire him to that very aim.

The 22-year-old, signed from Premier League champions Manchester City for £13.5million, could make his debut on Sunday when they host Burnley, potentially opposite former team-mate Joe Hart.

Gunn has observed how quickly Jordan Pickford has established himself as England’s first-choice goalkeeper and how Nick Pope did not even need a full season to make the squad for this summer’s World Cup, and hopes that with first-team football he can similarly thrive.

The England Under-21 international has long been expected to have a future with the senior team, and he said of that particular aim: “Definitely, 2020, I hope I get into the squad for that.

“There’s an Under-21 Euros in Italy at the end of the season, so that’s the main thing for me to be concentrated on.

“I was there in Poland when Jordan had a great tournament, and this year they were playing in the World Cup.”

It was largely the presence of and the more traditional, English methods used by Southampton goalkeeping coach Dave Watson – who has also worked with England and was credited with Hart’s emergence – that persuaded Gunn a move to the south coast would encourage his development.

His distribution improved while on loan at Norwich and working under Pep Guardiola at City, where a goalkeeper is expected to accurately play the ball with his feet, and Gunn said: “It was a big part of my development.

“That’s where English football has gone these days; our manager looks for it and the national team manager too. If you have that attribute it’s positive.

“(But Watson) was a big influence. He was one of the first to say he wanted me at the club. I had never really worked with an English goalkeeping coach in senior football and it was something that I really wanted to do.

“After being at City for a few years I had a few different goalie coaches and different nationalities and everyone seems to want to change things about you. Dave is very old school and just says ‘Keep the ball out of the net’.”

The son of retired Norwich and Scotland goalkeeper Bryan will vie for selection at Southampton with Alex McCarthy and Fraser Forster, similarly among the leading English goalkeepers.

Sunday’s opponents Burnley have similar strength in depth in Hart, Tom Heaton and Pope, and speaking at a Virgin Media Event, Gunn said: “It’s a very competitive group, and you’re coming in to challenge for the number one spot.

“Alex had a great season last year. He was a big part of the reason we stayed up, and deserves everything he gets. I’m coming here to work hard with Dave and hopefully impress the manager, and that’ll hopefully get me some game time.

“Obviously last season wasn’t great, but looking at the players, that was a false position.”