Villa, Sunderland target Gordon good as any England keeper

Scotland boss Alex McLeish is backing Hearts goalkeeper Craig Gordon's move to the Premiership.

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Gordon, 24, was given leave of absence from Monday night's 1-0 derby defeat by Hibernian to travel to England to thrash out a long-awaited move to the top tier of British football, with Sunderland and Aston Villa believed to be the suitors.

Asked how Gordon compares with the goalkeepers in the squad of his England counterpart, Steve McClaren, McLeish responded: "I wouldn't swap him, put him that way.

"He's a terrific goalkeeper. I think he's cool, I like his temperament.

"He has handled some tricky situations in his Hearts career, which is a sign of maturity for such a young guy. He's level-headed, he doesn't get carried away and he is courteous, with a good professionalism.

"What can I say? It's a hell of an endorsement on his CV.

"We've had some terrific goalies over the years, Andy Goram, Jim Leighton, Alan Rough, guys of that standard.

"Craig Gordon is now the latest and it's fantastic for those who brought him through the ranks when he started as kid. Great credit to them and the coaches he has worked with at Hearts since."

Eck added: "On paper, he compares favourably. The next stage is how the big fella does in the Premiership.

"If he is as consistent as he was in Scotland, and as a national team goalkeeper, he going to be rated very highly among the top goalkeepers in England.

"Playing in the Premiership is a feat in itself because of the spending power the clubs have.

"Let's face it, none of them are going to want to waste £9million. He doesn't have to do anything different down there, he just has to do what he did at Hearts and with Scotland."

A £9million switch would make Gordon the most expensive goalkeeper in British football history.

"I don't think he has to worry about the price at all," said McLeish. "A few years ago, we would have balked at that kind of figure but these days it's like '£9million? Yeah, no problem."'

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