Albion goalkeeper Christian Walton wants to follow the loan routes to the top of Jordan Pickford and Jack Butland.

Pickford, who kept a clean sheet for Everton against the Seagulls on Saturday, was sent out on loan numerous times by former club Sunderland.

Butland was loaned out as well on several occasions by Birmingham and current club Stoke and, together with Pickford, is vying to be Gareth Southgate's England No.1 at the World Cup finals in Russia this summer.

Walton, 22, now in his fifth loan spell with FA Cup quarter-finalists Wigan, said: "If you look at a lot of top keepers in the Premier League, expecially the English ones, they have all gone on those loan journeys at different times in their careers.

"Jordan Pickford (below) went out on loan at a young age, Jack Butland got into Birmingham's first team and then got his move to Stoke.

The Argus: "Every keeper has a different way of getting to the top. It's just the way it pans out, but the loan spells are a massive part, especially for English goalkeepers, to get out and experience the different types of games you play in at lower levels and different types of stadiums. I am enjoying it and it is only going to benefit me."

Walton used to be Pickford's England under-21s rival. The giant Cornishman is too old to represent them now so the next international step, eventually, is the seniors.

The immediate priority is to make the most of his season-long stay at Wigan, which started disastrously when he broke an ankle in an open training session for supporters at the end of August.

"It wasn't on the main pitch but one similar to Withdean, with a running track around it," he said. "I went over on my ankle in the middle of the session, had to come off, went for a scan straight away and I had a fracture in my fibula. It was an absolute nightmare.

"I'd played four games. We were top of the league (One) at the time. It wasn't perfect timing. Deadline day had gone and it wasn't easy for the manager (Paul Cook) to lose his No.1 keeper with a broken ankle.

"A specialist said it was only going to be three months, so they kept the loan agreement in place. I just went straight back when I was ready.

"If it had been a bigger injury I don't think anyone would have kept the player on, like the Izzy Brown one at Brighton. He had a serious injury and went back to his parent club (Chelsea).

"Wigan wanted me back as soon as possible, which was nice. I kept in touch with the management staff at the club. It was quite a quick process."

Returning to Albion for his rehab gave an opportunity for Walton to see at close quarters Mathew Ryan (below left), the Australian he wants to replace one day as Albion's No.1.

The Argus: He said: "I am obviously looking from the outside in, but when I was back at the club he is a hard-working goalkeeper and he seems like a really top professional. I've heard he has done really well after what was probably a tricky start for him, coming from a different country into the Premier League. It's never going to be easy for any player, especially a goalkeeper.

"He's been a big part of the team doing so well of late. Long may it continue for him this season.

"I am six-foot five, pushing six-foot six. Maty is an outstanding shot-stopper, really quick and agile around his goal, but he is obviously not the biggest so he's not going to be that commanding a keeper from long balls into the box, but everyone's different in what they bring to the team."

Since heading back to the north-west at the beginning of December, Walton (below) has continued to excel. He marked his return with six clean sheets in succession and has helped Wigan claim a hat-trick of Premier League scalps in the Cup, Bournemouth, West Ham and Manchester City.

The Argus: At lunchtime on Sunday, hours after watching Albion's quarter-final trip to Old Trafford on TV, he will be in the spotlight himself at home to Southampton.

Wigan are third in League One and well-placed for promotion back to the Championship, with games in hand.

"That is the most important thing," Walton said. "The manager keeps reiterating it's the main focus. The FA Cup is an added bonus. We've got a big run of games coming up. It's a busy few months, but it is good when the games come thick and fast."