Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Jordan Pickford needs to improve and quickly

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 11 Mar 2019

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As an Everton fan, I have seen a lot of England number one goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. In truth, it has been a mixed experience. At times he can make breath-taking saves, but he also has the capacity to make some terrible decisions.

At Newcastle on Saturday, Pickford was the main protagonist, as the Toffees threw away a two-goal lead o somehow lose 3-2. The result was typical of an Everton team that has struggled to defend all season. However, it does not help the defence when their goalkeeper is acting like a clown at times, struggling to remain professional in the face of taunts from rivals fans.

Highly unconvincing displays this season

At 25 years of age, Pickford is still a baby in terms of goalkeepers. However, he has played at the top level of football for a good while now and he is not the most convincing of goalkeepers.

We saw the good and bad of Pickford on Saturday at Newcastle. He gave away a penalty kick, only to save it. The former Sunderland star then had a hand in one of the Magpies three goals. It was just another unconvincing display from Pickford, who is enduring an unconvincing season for the Toffees.

He is not a top goalkeeper

Last summer, Pickford was hailed as one of the heroes of England’s journey to the World Cup semi-finals in Russia. He produced heroics in penalty shootouts and some world-class saves.

After, and indeed during the World Cup, there was talk of Manchester United making a bid of around £60million. I believe most Evertonian’s would sell the goalkeeper this summer if the Blues could get more than the £30million they paid Sunderland for the goalkeeper.

He is quite simply an average all around goalkeeper. His shot-stopping is decent, but he has a habit of producing erratic displays and makes some terrible decisions. One of his main weaknesses as a ‘keeper is his lack of command of his penalty area. The top goalkeepers command their areas, confidently coming out to catch crosses to take the heat off their defence. At times, Pickford seems to be stuck on his line like glue. This tends to make his defence nervous and that does not help when it comes to conceding goals.

Pickford tries to portray himself as a confident character, so he should come out and take control of situations. This weakness has cost Everton on a number of occasions this season, as he is not pro-active enough behind a shaky backline. His poor displays have put his status as England’s number one in jeopardy. It would be hard to claim that the Everton goalkeeper is the best English ‘keeper in the country.

Can he help Everton to a top half finish?

Like Pickford, Everton have endured a season to forget. Portuguese boss Marco Silva has attempted to change the team’s style of football to match his own football philosophy. It has not really worked out that well, despite the Merseysider’s spending big in the summer once more. Silva has struggled to get the players to buy into his ideas and some fans have questioned if he is the right man to move the Toffees forward.

He is the Everton boss for now. The Toffees are currently 11th position in the Premier League table and odds of 7/5 to finish in the top half of the table this season. Silva’s team have already underachieved, a bottom half finish this season would only add to the annoyance of the Toffees fans.

Everton and Jordan Pickford have not been at their best this season. The England number one has to start showing that he is capable of being a reliable presence in-between the sticks. If he does not for the rest of the season, then Everton may just be looking to sign a new goalkeeper this summer.

Does Jordan Pickford have what it takes to become a top goalkeeper?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer 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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