Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Should Jordan Pickford still be England number one?

David Nugent in Editorial, European Championships 4 Mar 2020

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As an Everton fan, I watch England number one Jordan Pickford week-in and week-out. In my humble opinion, the former Sunderland ‘keeper should no longer be England’s first-choice goalkeeper, especially with Euro 2020 on the horizon. This may seem to be a harsh judgement on Pickford, but it comes out of frustration.

Always prone to make a mistake

Sometimes stats can be misleading. However, in Pickford’s case, the stats sum up his situation. Only Fraser Forster and Joe Hart have made more errors leading to goals since the summer of 2017. The fact that Forster and Hart are no longer first-choice Premier League goalkeepers tells its own story.

Some may say that the Everton ‘keeper has played the most of any goalkeeper in the top-flight in recent seasons may sway the statistics. However, it is not only his recent stats that are worrying. On Sunday, he produced a typically erratic display in the Blues 1-1 draw at home against Manchester United.

He should have done better with Bruno Fernandes goal. However, later on in the game, he produced an impressive double save to keep the scores level. The problem with Pickford is that is an all too familiar story. He will make great saves, which is his strength, but he also loses concentration so easily too.

Question marks over his temperament

The simple fact is that Pickford does not inspire confidence in his defenders. The truly top goalkeepers reassure their teammates by calmness. However, the Everton goalkeeper has the tendency to lose his head, especially in big games. I cannot claim to know him personality, but the aura he gives off in his performances on the pitch and interviews is of a young arrogant guy.

He may be the nicest person in the world, but we only see the often reckless displays and error-strewn displays. His poor displays have led to question marks over his temperament. Does he have the proper temperament to improve, or will he keep making the same mistakes?

Competitors for a place in the England national side Burnley’s Nick Pope and Sheffield United’s Dean Henderson seem to be far calmer and steady individuals. The pair are right up there with the top goalkeepers in the league when it comes to saves and clean sheets.

Pickford may remain England number one

The advantage that Pickford has over his competitors when it comes to national team selection is that he is good with the ball at his feet. England head coach Gareth Southgate prefers his goalkeepers to be able to play and not just be the last line of defence. This works in Pickford’s favour. When it comes to passing, no ‘keeper has been accurate with his passing in the Premier League.

The fact that Pope and Henderson play for teams who play a different sort of game works against them. However, both Pope and Henderson could maybe adapt their game to suit England’s needs. Until they do Pickford is likely to remain as England number one for the foreseeable future.

If it was just based on their goalkeeping ability, then Pickford would be in trouble on current form, as his has been poor. The fact that Pickford is odds of 1/50 to make the England squad for Euro 2020 shows his position in the squad. No player is shorter odds to make the squad, despite his seemingly poor recent displays.

Jordan Pickford is still young in terms of goalkeepers at just 25. He has time to improve and seems to have the full confidence of England boss Southgate. However, his performances must improve, or he may not be the first-choice goalkeeper for Everton or England for much longer.

Should Jordan Pickford still be England’s number one?

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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