Friday, November 24, 2017

Should Jordan Pickford be England’s number one?

David Nugent in Editorial, World Cup 11 Nov 2017

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On Friday night, Everton and England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford had the rare experience of keeping a clean sheet in a goalless international friendly against Germany.

The former Sunderland ‘keeper had a relatively quiet night. However, he did pull off two very good saves in the first half. The 23-year-old enjoyed an encouraging international debut overall.

Pickford has played behind two terrible defences

As an Everton fan, I can honestly say that Jordan Pickford has been one of our better players this season. Some neutrals who are just looking at the goals against column for the Toffees have almost written the lad off.

In truth, if it were not for Pickford, then the damage would have been far worse for Everton this season. He arrived for a big fee and with a big reputation, despite having conceded a hell of a lot of goals at Sunderland.

Everton and Sunderland have one major thing in common, in that they have terrible defences in front of a very good young goalkeeper. If Pickford played with a more organised defence in front of him every week he would keep more clean sheets. That is not rocket science really.

On Friday night, he did have a better defence in front of him and unsurprisingly the young ‘keeper kept a clean sheet while making two very good saves and looking confident.

Still learning but not overrated

Jordan Pickford is still very young for a goalkeeper at 23-years-old. I have heard people claiming he is overrated and that he is a poor goalkeeper. I doubt many Evertonian’s or Sunderland fans would agree with either of those sentiments though.

Pickford is not overrated he is just young. Many goalkeepers do not hit their peak until their late twenties or early thirties. Pickford is already showing a great maturity for such a young guy.

He seems calm and cool, while his distribution is good, it could get even better with more experience. No doubt Pickford is still very much learning on the job at Everton and has had plenty of saving practice this season.

Pickford is not perfect obviously, nobody is. His tendency to punch rather catching the ball has raised concerns amongst Everton fans this season. Hopefully, this will be phased out with greater experience.

The young goalkeeper has made a few mistakes this season. However, you have to expect that from any player at the start of their career. Those mistakes have been limited and the number of saves he makes has more than made up for the odd mistake.

Pickford surely has to go to the World Cup

For me, Joe Hart should no longer be England’s number one. The West Ham goalkeeper has had enough chances to prove himself. Now it is time for the next generation of goalkeeper to come through.

Jack Butland and Jordan Pickford look like the most promising young goalkeepers that England have produced in a long time. I do believe that Butland is maybe a better all-around goalkeeper than Pickford. However, the Stoke star struggles to stay clear of injuries, which has hampered his career so far.

I think the pair are likely to be in the World Cup squad. Pickford is now 1/ 4, to make the 23-man squad, which is same odds as Hart and Butland.

The likes of Tom Heaton, Fraser Forster and even Heaton’s Burnley teammate Nick Pope would also be options for England boss Gareth Southgate. However, Hart, Butland and Pickford look to be the chosen trio at the moment for Russia 2018.

Jordan Pickford has had his critics, strangely mostly from people who have not seen him play that much this or last season.

However, the early signs are that he is developing into a very capable goalkeeper and that he could be in and around the England team for a long time.

Should Jordan Pickford be England’s number one in Russia?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The 33-year-old has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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